Charter School Funding 101 - how are charter schools funded in Oregon?

So here are the basics of how Oregon funds charter schools -

The Basics:

  • Oregon charter schools are public schools and receive funding from the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) like all public schools.

  • A charter school rate is established for each district and can be seen as part of the State School Fund information. (  This rate is less than the extended per student amount to account for services like transportation that charter schools do not use.

  • Money goes from ODE to a charter school’s sponsor (usually a school district).

  • The sponsor establishes via the charter contract what percentage of the money from ODE each charter school will receive. The rest is kept by the sponsor.

  • The sponsor distributes funds monthly to the charter school which the school uses to operate its program as established by its charter with its sponsor.

  • A Board of Governors for the charter school is responsible and accountable for the wise use of public funds to operate the school. Charter schools have flexibility to use the funds to enact their mission and vision per the charter agreement with their sponsor.

Howard Street specifics:

  • Salem-Keizer Public Schools 24J is Howard Street’s sponsoring district. They have been our partner since 1997, even before there was an Oregon Charter School Law (ORS 338).

  • For Salem-Keizer 24J as of March 2, 2018, the charter school rate was $7,727 per student.

  • Howard Street receives 85% of $7,727 ($6568) for each student. The rest is retained by Salem-Keizer.

  • Howard Street also pays Salem-Keizer $41,200 a year in fees for technology, maintenance, and custodial services as we are currently located in a Salem-Keizer building.

  • We receive no money from Salem-Keizer, just money from ODE that passes through our sponsor to us. Thus, we are not a part of bond measures or other Salem-Keizer specific initiatives; we are an independent 501c3 non-profit institution.

  • Howard Street has been building a reserve to help with our future home. Our reserves are one reason we will be able to obtain financing for renovation.

  • We need your help to finance renovations of our future home. All monies raised will go directly into the building itself to create a space that matches our motto of “innovate, create, inspire”.