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Home > MSMA News > Charter Commission gives $428,473 in excess GPA to 7 charter schools – November 8, 2016

Charter Commission gives $428,473 in excess GPA to 7 charter schools – November 8, 2016

The Maine Charter School Commission voted today to give $428,473 in excess funds to charter schools that have been operating for the last four school years – funds that came out of General Purpose Aid for public schools and in some cases local property taxpayer pockets.

Language in the state’s charter school law allows the commission to charge charter schools up to 3 percent of the annual per-pupil amounts given them under the Essential Programs and Services (EPS) formula to pay for the commission’s work.

In September, the commission said it was getting too much money under the 3 percent charge and wanted to give some back. Using a formula it crafted to return the money, based on enrollment and years of operation, the following schools will be receiving:

  • Baxter Academy for Technology and Science        $113,360
  • Cornville Regional Charter                                         $65,279
  • Fiddlehead School of Arts and Science                    $36,547
  • Harpswell Coastal Academy                                      $63,259
  • Maine Academy of Natural Sciences                         $51,820
  • Maine Connections Academy                                     $84,544
  • Maine Virtual Academy                                               $13,664

The commission also voted to lower the percent it is taking for administrative services from the 3 percent to 2.25 percent for the next school year.

When news of the excess funds first came out, some public school districts said the money should be going back to sending schools, whose local property taxpayers had to foot some of the charter tuition bill until the law was changed for 2015-2016. That law change allows the state to pay all charter school costs under EPS, essentially making them 100 percent receivers of state aid. That 100 percent comes out of General Purpose Aid for education – the fund that has to be divided among all public schools in Maine.

The state’s two charter schools that just began operation this year – Acadia Academy and Snow Pond Arts Academy – were not included in the give-back list because it is their first year of operation and apparently they did not contribute to the excess funds pool.

The commission hopes to have the checks out in December.

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