Charter schools receive too much money, according to Don Martin, the superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. Even thought the state does not provide charter schools any funds for capital needs, Martin says that charters receive a “very unfair amount of funds,” because they provide fewer services than county schools. (You will hear variations of this “charter drain” argument every once in a while, but I am surprised to hear it from Dr. Martin. He is an outstanding superintendent who has never been afraid of innovation and reform.)

The Fordham Foundation reported that NC charter schools received an average of 5.5 percent less per student than county schools. But here is the kicker. According to report, similar percentages of students in charter and district schools are eligible for free and reduced price lunches (46.5 percent vs. 42.4 percent). More than 61 percent of charters statewide are eligible for Title 1 funding, compared to 49.3 percent of district schools. So, charter schools must provide services to a higher percentage of at-risk students than county schools do, but they receive less money to do it.