Details About Public Charter School Funding
The primary funding sources for charter schools, like traditional public schools, are local, state, and federal tax dollars. When you enroll your child in a public charter school, there is no tuition. Rather, the per pupil funding in tax dollars from your assigned school district follows your child to the charter school. In short, TES is a public school serving public students with public dollars for the public benefit.
Yet, as a public charter school, while TES receives the state and local government per pupil expenditure (which helps cover salaries, instructional supplies, technology, and other operational costs), there are other funds we do not receive. Charter schools, for instance, do not have access to the local funds that provide teacher salary supplements, which serve to “supplement” teachers’ base salary set by the NC General Assembly. TES, however, believes it is imperative to provide our valued educators with salaries and benefits that are competitive with local school systems. Thus, we must find our own funds to offer a supplement to our staff (15% as of 2020) since it is not covered by local government funds in the same way traditional school systems' employee suplements are covered.
Additionally, while traditional public school buildings are funded through local bonds and funding, public charter schools are not provided these same funds to cover the costs of our buildings. Thus, TES must cover the cost of its school building on its own – which is naturally one of the largest expenses of a school. TES currently must maintain a budget that can cover its lease at the Eno River Mill, as well as save for the future cost of a permanent school facility. This must be done through our own budgeting and fundraising.
Launching a Capital Campaign
Since its founding in 2012, The Expedition School has grown into a vibrant and dynamic learning community. Well known for its success and innovative combination of Project Based Learning in STEM and Responsive Classroom across grade levels, our waitlist of families seeking enrollment is well into the hundreds. TES currently leases space at the Eno River Mill, a space which does not currently allow for expanding the student body to meet the demand for seats. Additionally, research shows that the most fiscally responsible and autonomous choice is to acquire ownership of a permanent school facility.
Part of the TES Board of Directors' 2020-2025 Strategic Plan thus includes the goal to “Explore and solidify options for acquiring a permanent facility that aligns with the mission of The Expedition School and addresses long-range spatial, programmatic, and financial needs.”
The purchase of a permanent school site (whether land that is built upon or an existing property that is renovated) will provide TES with options for upgrades and expansion to accommodate growth and continue to diversify our school population.
Creating a state-of-the-art learning facility for TES will require a significant Capital Campaign, in which we hope families, community members, and other donors can help us make our dream for our students and school a reality. Stay tuned for more details in the coming years.
If you would like to assist with the planning of TES's Capital Campaign, or launch the campaign with a significant gift (naming rights available), please send an e-mail to [email protected].