FGCS: How Funding Works at Our Public Charter School
FGCS is a public charter school. We do not charge tuition. There are no admission criteria for attending FGCS other than residence in the Forest Grove School District. We are held to the same state standards as every other public school in the State of Oregon. Our charter contract - the legal document that allows us to operate - requires us to have test scores that are as good or better than other schools in our District. As a public charter, we are allowed by state law to limit our class sizes and overall enrollment, and we do not serve a specific neighborhood, but enroll any students residing in the district whose parents chose to enroll them.
A key difference between public charter schools and mainstream public schools is funding. Under state law, public charters are not eligible to receive funding from many public sources and may not issue bonds to fund construction or other capital projects. Ninety-five percent of the FGCS budget comes from state per-pupil funding.
State law also provides that a public charter school's sponsoring district may keep up to 20 percent of per-pupil funding associated with public charter students. From 2007-2017, FGCS received 85 percent of per-pupil funding while the District retained 15 percent.
At the end of the 2016-17 school year, the District conducted an evaluation of expenses associated with FGCS. This evaluation showed that the money that the District retained for 2016-17 was more than what the District spent on expenses related to FGCS. Based on that report, the District approved increasing FGCS pass-through funding from 85 percent to 88 percent. The District report indicated that the District was still retaining more funding than was needed to cover charter expenses at the 88 percent rate, so FGCS in 2018 asked the District to increase pass-through funding to 90 percent. The District Board voted against this proposal but agreed to review the pass-through funding question each year of the current 5-year charter agreement.
To illustrate pass-through funding in dollars and cents: Statewide per-pupil funding for 2018-19 is currently $7771. At the 88 percent pass-through rate, FGCS will receive $6,838. The District retains the remaining $933 (12 percent) per pupil.
The FGCS Board of Directors is committed to advocating for equitable funding for FGCS students.