The largest single component of that is facilities financing. Charter schools, in almost all cases, are incorporated as nonprofits, and are not part of the government, if you will. So they don’t typically have access to state capital budgets for facilities needs. That means that they have to depend either on dedicated facilities financing from the state, or private lenders, or as is most typical, simply going into their operating budgets and taking money that should go into the classroom or other uses and dedicating it to bricks and mortar.Through Amendment 23 funds, Colorado designates a minimum of $5 million in charter school capital construction money. As the number of eligible charter school students has risen exponentially, the per pupil amount has decreased. In addition, the legislature has cut the funding back to the base amount in recent years. Charter school leaders know that this is not a stable fund to include in their budgets as it's at the whim of the legislature each year.
In Colorado, charter schools receive 100% of the per pupil funding, less up to 5% retained for administrative costs, given to all public school students. However, many school districts have access to additional grants, gifts, mill levies and bonds that the charter schools do not receive. Last year's election revealed a discrepancy with several school districts refusing to include their charter schools in ballot mill levy and bond questions. The 2009 General Assembly addressed this problem, but the bill was soon watered down and nothing of significance was accomplished.