Finance 101

Charter schools are public schools. Like traditional public schools, Stargate, as a Charter school, receives funding provided through Federal, State and local District funds based on enrollment levels on a per pupil basis. However, there are some key differences.

Distribution of Dollars

School districts finance their facilities using property taxes, mill levies and local bonds. Charter schools generally do not receive a proportionate share of these funds. At Stargate, we receive about 20% less per student in public funding than the average peer student in a traditional public school. As a result, Stargate, like other Charter schools must find alternative revenue sources, including annual fundraising campaigns, to pay for facilities and facilities-related expenses. 


In exchange for operational freedom and flexibility, Charter schools tend to be subject to higher levels of accountability, both academically and financially, than traditional public schools. Stargate strives for the highest levels of financial transparency. More information about school finances is available in the Financial Transparency section of the Stargate website and in the Finance 101 document referenced below.

Funding - the Basics

Charter schools receive per pupil funding via the same formulas as their authorizing district or Charter school authorizer. 

  • Per pupil funding varies each year, based on a number of factors including the district's assessed home values and business base.
Charter schools pay their authorizers for central administrative services, some are statutory and some are negotiated.
  • Stargate pays a fixed amount per student each year to our authorizing district, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, in negotiated central administrative costs and an additional per student amount each year in statutory central administrative costs.
Charter school portions of state and federal grant revenues are negotiated as a part of the Charter school contract. 
  • Stargate receives 65% of the state and federal grant revenue that the Adams 12 Five Star Schools district receives on our behalf. The district retains 35% of these grant funds by contract.
Charter schools finance their facilities from per pupil operating revenues not from voter approved bonds.
  • Stargate receives $250 per student in Charter School Capital Construction funding from the state to help offset facilities costs.
Charter schools must finance and pay for facilities with operating budget models that will support 30 years of payments from per pupil revenue. Traditional public schools utilize voter approved bond funding instead of operating revenue to cover facilities costs.
  • Stargate total salaries and benefits budget is 60%-65% of revenue. Adams 12 total salaries and benefits are 91% of revenue.

School Funding - Overview Presentation

Stargate's chief financial officer presented a Finance 101 overview to the school's board of directors in June 2017. Open the Finance 101 - Charter School Funding presentation with this link or download the Charter School Funding PDF posted below.


How Can I Participate?

Stargate community members play an active role in supporting our school's Finances by:

* Contributing to Fundraising campaigns, including the annual campaign

* Joining the school's Finance Committee

* Attending board meetings and staying informed about school finances

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Lisa Griffin,
Jun 22, 2017, 10:50 AM