Week of 1/23: Charter vs Non-Charter

This week we look at the difference in stimulus spending between charter and non-charter schools, enrollment trends broken out by free or reduced-price lunch eligibility, and more.

1.  As we have noted, Burbio has analyzed and categorized over 6,000 ESSER III spending plans from across the US, with over $93 billion of planned spending.  We are growing the database to 7,000 plans and tracking plan changes and spending rates. 

The database allows us to compare spending priorities across different segments of K-12.   In last week's newsletter we discussed the fact that in ESSER plans districts will often set aside funding for staffing without indicating what the staff will be doing.  In many cases it is academic programs, or mental health, but it could also be transportation, health, food service, and more.  

Of the 6,000+ ESSER III plans we have examined, 445 of them are for charter school districts.  This week we break out charter and non-charter spending by category.  Comparison of the two pie charts below (non-charter districts and then charter district category spending) shows that charter districts are spending less on facilities and operations (10.1% versus 22.8%, below) and technology (6.2% versus 9.2%) than the non-charter districts, while spending similar amounts on physical and mental health and programs that can be identified as addressing academic intervention and learning loss.  Charters are spending much of the difference in facility and technology in the staffing category versus non-charters.   Again, as noted, a material portion of that staff is likely being assigned to academic recovery.  

  Charter ESSER III  

2.  One of the K-12 segments we work with is suppliers in the school nutrition industry.   Burbio's data covers local school schedules and enrollments and is used to better project demand.  We have recently added data for the percent of students eligible for free or reduced-priced lunch (FRPL) by district as it further informs levels of supply needed to service local communities. 

As part of that initiative we are looking at correlations between the level of students eligible for free and reduced meals and enrollment changes.   

For the analysis below, we identified 3,871 districts out of the 5,000 largest that reported 2021/22 FRPL figures in NCES.  We divided the group into quintiles based on the percent of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and then averaged the percent enrollment shift between 2019/20 and 2021/22 for each of group of districts.  From the chart below, note the highest FRPL quintile experienced over 3% enrollment drop during the period, while the lowest less than 1%:

  FRPL Enrollment  

3.  Burbio's School Opening Tracker was a widely used data source during Covid-19 for measuring school disruptions.   Our methodology gauged districts based on the level of in-person learning made available.   In checking districts every 72 hours for changes, we were able to provide specific measurement of school operations.  We provided a variety of indexes and maps that remain publicly available for the period.  Below is a chart of the national in-person index (IPI) during the 2020/21 academic year. 

We have recently created a file featuring monthly in-person indexes (IPIs) for all fifty states for both the 2020/21 and 2021/22 academic years.  Email dennis@burbio.com and a member of the Burbio team will send you a digital file.  Information on how to receive the file is also posted on the School Opening Tracker page itself. 

  IPI 2020=21

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