This section lists the primary sources of funding for charter schools in Indiana as well as several grant opportunities. Charter schools are encouraged to reach out to the Indiana Department of Education for more information and guidance on the funding programs below.
For a complete list of charter school funding sources, please refer to the ICSB Start-Up Manual.
Basic Grant for Charter Schools (other than Virtual Charter Schools)
Charter schools, like all public schools in Indiana, receive general tuition support from the State and are funded as their own separate Local Educational Agency (“LEA”). Per-pupil funding is administered by the IDOE and is referred to as the Basic Grant.
Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, schools receive their funding on a fiscal year basis. For FY16, charter schools were required to provide an estimated student enrollment count in early June to the IDOE’s Office of School Finance. This count will be used to determine the estimated Basic Grant, remitted in monthly payments, for the period July through October. Adjusted Basic Grant funding will be calculated using the Average Daily Membership (“ADM”) student count taken each September and February. The IDOE will reconcile the difference between the estimated enrollment count submitted in June and the September ADM count, and school will receive adjusted payments – either higher or lower – for the months of November and December. Monthly Basic Grant payments for the months of January through March will be based upon the September ADM count. The IDOE will once again reconcile the difference between the September and February ADM count, and the school will receive adjusted payments – either higher or lower – for the months of April through June. The process will repeat itself for each subsequent fiscal year. Basic Grant payments are sent directly to the charter school, for which the Organizer is the fiscal agent.
A note about high school funding: schools receive funding for students in a regular public education program until the student earns a high school diploma, regardless of the student’s age. The regulations are different, however, for special education funding. While schools continue receiving Basic Grant support for special education students, after students reach the age of 22, state and federal funding specifically earmarked for special education is no longer available. Other federal and state grants (e.g., Title I funds) also have age caps.
Schools are encouraged to contact the IDOE’s Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840 for specific guidance regarding per-pupil funding for charter schools. The Office can also be contacted by visiting their website: http://doe.in.gov/idoe/finance.
Virtual Charter School Funding
In Indiana, virtual charter schools are funded differently than traditional charter schools. Indiana statute defines a virtual charter school as any charter school, including a conversion charter school, that provides for the delivery of more than 50% of instruction to students through: (1) virtual distance learning, (2) online technologies, or (3) computer based instruction.
The Basic Grant for virtual charter schools is calculated by the virtual charter school's ADM multiplied by 90% of the school's foundation amount determined under IC § 20-43-5-4. In order to determine the foundation amount, virtual charter schools must complete the calculation for the school foundation amount in the Basic Grant formula. Additionally, virtual charter schools are eligible for special education funding, career and technical education grants, honor grants, complexity grants, and full-day kindergarten grants.
For more information about virtual charter school funding, schools are encouraged to contact the IDOE's Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840.
Effective July 2015, kindergarten students are allowed to be counted as a pupil for purposes of the ADM count. Indiana provides full funding for full-day kindergarten programs and half the funding for half-day kindergarten program.
In December 2015, Congress passed the Every Student Succeeds Act ("ESSA") which reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. ESSA provides for several change to some of the funding programs listed below. As Congress and states begin implementation of ESSA, we will keep update this web page. For information on ESSA, please visit http://www.ed.gov/essa.
Part B, IDEA
Under the provisions of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), states are required to take steps to ensure that each new charter school receives Part B, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEA”) federal funds during its first year of operation. In order to receive such funds, a charter school must provide to the IDOE the information needed to determine the initial grant award.
Federal special education funds allocated to LEAs under Part B, IDEA are based on four factors: the number of students with disabilities, the total number of students (with and without disabilities), base pay amount, the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches. Each category has an established per child amount calculated each new fiscal year based on the State’s allocation, which will be multiplied by the total number served in that category. These amounts are added together to get the total allocation for each LEA.
A base payment is the amount the agency would have received for fiscal year 1997 after the State distributed 75% of its allocated funds to the LEAs. In Indiana, the base pay amount is $519.40 per child that was counted for the 1997 December 1 count. For new charters, $519.40 would be multiplied by the number of students with disabilities reported on the December 1 count in the first year the school is in operation. The new charter will then use this number as the base pay total until federal regulations change.
New schools that wish to receive their funding beginning in September need to submit estimated total enrollment, estimated free and reduced-price lunch count and the estimated special education child count to the Office of Special Education in August. The State will then generate the total allocation for the new school based on the formula described above. Once the new school receives the allocated amount, an application for that fiscal year must be completed and submitted to the IDOE Office of Special Education for review and approval. When the new school receives approval for the application, reimbursement forms may be submitted to the Office of Finance. If the new school has estimates that need to be adjusted after the December 1 count is submitted, the adjustments should be reported to the Office of Special Education, and the allocation amount could be altered. Please contact the Indiana Department of Education at 317-234-1002 to discuss this process and to learn more information.
Title I Funding
Title I provides supplemental federal funding for low achieving students that is targeted to high-poverty schools. Funds are used to implement programs and services that provide extra academic support and learning opportunities for children who are failing to meet, or are most at risk of failing to meet, state and local standards.
Title I funds should not be used in place of general tuition support dollars. Rather the funds must supplement the school’s regular instructional program. Learning opportunities must be academic in nature. Examples may include, but are not limited to: After-, before-, and summer school programs; specialized teachers (e.g., reading teachers); instructional interventionists; and instructional coaches (e.g., job-embedded professional development). Funds may be used for research-based professional development opportunities for teachers and paraprofessional who provide instructional support to Title I students. Funds can also be used to provide opportunities and activities that increase meaningful parental involvement.
Title I allocations to school corporations are based on census poverty data. Charter schools do not have their own census poverty count because students are drawn from across census boundaries. Therefore, the IDOE applies a multi-step formula to determine the school’s equivalent of census poverty. This count determines eligibility and generates allocations. Eligibility is determined by the number of “formula children” in the charter school (i.e., the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in relation to the school’s overall census poverty data). To be eligible for a Title I basic grant, a charter school must have at a minimum at least ten “formula children” and the number of “formula children” must make up more than 2% of the student population (ages 5-17). Additional grants and funding may be generated, depending upon the total percentage of poverty for the charter school.
Once eligibility is determined, the charter school will draw Title I funds from each district in which “formula children” reside and will receive the same amount per “formula child” as that particular district receives. The aggregate of the per-pupil amounts will generate the charter school’s allocation.
Once the IDOE determines the charter school’s allocation, it will provide guidance to the school on how to complete the Title I application (including helping to identify uses for the funds). Several resources, including federal guidance, sample documents, and technical assistance materials are available on the IDOE’s Learning Connection website in the “IDOE-Title I” learning community. For additional information, please visit the IDOE website: http://www.doe.in.gov/improvement/title-i.
Title II, Part A Funding
The purpose of Title II, Part A is to increase the academic achievement of all students by 1) helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality and 2) ensuring that all teachers are highly qualified. State Educational Agencies (“SEA”), LEAs and State Agencies for Higher Education (“SAHE”) receive funds on a formula basis. In addition, eligible partnerships consisting of high-need LEAs and Institutions of Higher Education (“IHE”) receive funds that are competitively awarded by the SAHE. Title II, Part A funds are available to all public school and charter school LEAs.
Consistent with LEA planning requirements and needs assessment, the Title II, Part A program offers an LEA the flexibility to design and implement a wide variety of activities that can promote a teaching staff that is highly qualified and able to help all students – regardless of individual learning needs – achieve challenging State content and academic achievement standards. Funds can also be used to provide school principals with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead their schools’ efforts in increasing student academic achievement.
Title II, Part A, like most of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act formula programs, is “forward funded.” Funds remain available for a period of 27 months after July 1. This 27-month period includes an initial 15-month period of availability and an automatic 12-month extension permitted under the “Tydings Amendment.” For example, funds appropriated for Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 first become available on July 1, 2011, and remain available for obligation through September 30, 2013.
Title II, Part A grant applications and several resources including federal guidance, sample documents, and technical assistance materials are available on IDOE’s Learning Connection Community “IDOE – Title II A and Highly Qualified Teacher Status.”
Title III: Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students
The Title III funding aims to help ensure that children who are Limited English Proficient (“LEP”) attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achieve standards. Schools must use approaches and methodologies based on scientifically based research on teaching limited English proficient children and immigrant children. To review funded activities and grant requirements, please visit http://www.doe.in.gov/elme/title-iii-language-instruction-limited-english-proficient-and-immigrant-students and the Learning Connection Community “IDOE - Title III and NESP.” All current presentations and user guides will be available on Learing Connection.