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April 28, 2009

Charter School Philanthropy Revisited

In an earlier post, I reviewed some philanthropy statistics for New York City charter schools.  The information came from IRS filings (“Form 990”).  However,  annual charter school financial audits are better and more timely sources for this data.  The audits are available about six months earlier than the Form 990’s.  Also, the audits present the information in a clearer fashion.

Thanks in part to the New York Freedom of Information Law, I was able to get copies of almost all of the financial audits for the school year ending in 2008.  The key page in the audit is called the “Statement of Activities”.  Here is a PDF with these statements for the 58 charter schools in my sample.  Here is a workbook with my calculations for these schools.

Overall, the total amount of philanthropic contributions for the 58 schools was $25,511,490.  The total enrollment was 17,680.  This comes out to a per pupil calculation of $1,443 (as compared to $1,175 for my 990-based 2006-07 calculation).  The average school philanthropy per pupil was $1,654 (as compared to $1,366).  The median school was $1,081 (as compared to $697). 

Some of this difference represents growth from one year to the next.  Most, though, is attributable to differences in the reporting methodology.  In particular, the 990’s do not generally include in-kind donations and the audits do.  (I had assumed otherwise in the comment section of the prior post!)  Also, I made a change mentioned in the notes below that affect the median calculation.

I encourage charter school operators and other readers to help me to further improve these calculations.

Here are some additional notes:

1. I subtracted out Kipp To College costs because these amounts are not used for current students.  This is their alumni program.
2. I averaged across KIPP and Achievement First schools for per pupil philanthropy.  These schools route disproportionate amounts of their philanthropy through one school.  If I didn’t make this change, the total average would be the same, the average school would be 8% higher and the median school would be 29% lower.
3. The data is missing for Bronx Charter School for the Arts because I have a bad copy of the Statement of Activities.
4. I removed  The New York Center for Autism.
5. I included restricted funds.
6. I included in-kind donations.
7. I included fundraising but did not subtract out fundraising expenses.


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