"Charter school facilities are too small," states the CLCS report, Shortchanged Charters: How Funding Disparities Hurt Colorado's Charter Schools. Not only smaller, "considerably" smaller it says. The report compared standards used by school districts for their schools and charter schools, even charters that had recently built new buildings, and still charter school facilities are "considerably" smaller.
My guess is the primary reason for this is that charter schools cannot afford a facility that is comparable in size to a school district facility. As a taxpayer, I'm glad to know that not all public schools in the state are as elaborate as those built by most school districts. However, knowing that many charter schools routinely have students working in hallways is the other extreme.
Finding an operating charter school can be very difficult; I've been in the parking lot of a charter school and didn't know it was the school I was looking for. If a charter school is in a normal building, we say, "it doesn't look like a charter school." A few months ago I had a school district call me and ask if it was OK for a charter school to use modular buildings. Modulars are the facility of choice for LOTS of charter schools! In fact, the charter schools sell them to each other, passing them around incestuously.
Even though many charter schools operate in sub-standard facilities, the staff, students and families are excited to have a school that suits their needs and rarely complain. In fact, parents consider it normal to help with cleaning or preparing the soccer field. They're just happy that their child is getting a good education!