CEO Rhonda Hopps on Chicago Public Radio on charter school funding

Many Chicago Charter Schools on Shaky Financial Ground Produced by Linda Lutton on Friday, August 13, 2010

A new report out today says half the city’s charter schools have run deficits in recent years.

The independent magazine Catalyst, which reports on schools in Chicago—found that two-thirds of the city’s charter schools are using private donations just to cover core expenses like teachers salaries.

The report raises questions about the financial sustainability of charters going forward.

About 33,000 Chicago students attended charters last year. Ten thousand more will join their ranks this fall.

Charter schools are public and get money from the districts where they’re located.

Rhonda Hopps is CEO of Perspectives Charter Schools, which she says is relying on private donations temporarily—until enrollment climbs at the school's five campuses, meaning more operating funds from CPS.

HOPPS: For charter schools to be sustainable over the long term, they’ve got to survive on the public money that’s raised, and if we do fundraise maybe it’s for special programs or for facilities expansion or something like that….But we need to be properly funded as well from the public side in order to make that happen.

Faced with a whopping deficit, Chicago has proposed cutting the amount it gives to charter schools by 6 percent next year.