I have been compiling some New York City charter school data from tax filings. “IRS Form 990” is the required federal filing for tax-exempt organizations. On these public documents, you can find information about fundraising and spending. Since these forms are usually filed several months after the end of the reporting period, the most recent data I could find was for the 2006-2007 school year. (I hope to get 2007-2008 data later this year.)
For the 39 schools for which I could get good data, the total amount of contributions received directly from individuals and foundations was $11,625,432. These same schools served 9,898 students in that school year. Therefore, the average per pupil philanthropic contribution was $1,175.
Several notes on this:
1. The 39 schools were taken from a list of 50 New York City charter schools in my database. These 50 schools were chosen because they have taken state exams in 2007-2008.
2. 11 schools were not included because either I couldn’t find the 990 form (8 cases) or the filing didn’t make sense to me (3 cases).
3. I think it is possible that some of these schools receive additional philanthropic funding through other entities. I intend to do further research on this.
UPDATE: See the comments section for some more statistics and data.
About our First Person series:
First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.