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Argument: Public schools are cushioned from enrollment losses to charter schools

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Supporting quotations

"Does Charter School Competition Improve Traditional Public Schools?". Manhattan Institute for Public Policy. June 10, 2000 - We studied Springfield and Worcester, Massachusetts, Jersey City and Trenton, New Jersey, and the District of Columbia (D.C.), to appraise how charter schools are affecting the traditional public school system.2 We found that charter competition has not induced large changes in district-wide operations, despite the fact that a significant number of students have left district schools for charter schools.

This may be explained by the fact that state policies generally cushion districts from the financial effects of departing students. Demographics play a role, too. Rising total enrollments, a by-product of the “baby boom echo,” and recent high rates of immigration, have helped districts avoid fiscal pain; some have maintained absolute enrollment (and budget) levels even as their market share has shrunk.

Districts also cushion individual schools from the financial impact of declining enrollments and shrinking market share. They tend to provide constant resources to shrinking schools, in some cases sending extra money to failing schools to “prop them up.”

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