Finance: Charter School 101

CDE Transparency Requirement: none specified. Stargate chooses to make this information available in the spirit of financial transparency.

Finance 101

Charter schools are public schools. Like traditional public schools, Stargate, as a Charter school, receives funding provided through Federal, State and local District funds based on enrollment levels on a per pupil basis.

Facilities Financing

School districts finance their facilities using property taxes and local bond elections. Charter schools generally do not receive a full proportionate share of these funds and fund their facilities needs from operating revenues. As a result, Stargate, like other Charter schools looks to alternative revenue sources, including annual fundraising campaigns, to supplement needs that fall outside of the annual operating budget.


In exchange for operational freedom and flexibility, Charter schools tend to be subject to higher levels of accountability, both academically and financially, than traditional public schools. Stargate strives for the highest levels of financial transparency. More information about school finances is available throughout the Financial Transparency section of this website and in the Finance 101 document referenced below.

Funding - the Basics

Charter schools receive per pupil funding via the same formulas as their authorizing district or Charter school authorizer.

  • Per pupil funding varies each year, based on a number of factors including the district's assessed home values and business base.

  • As a result of recent legislation, districts now have mill levy sharing plans in place with their charters. Adams 12 shares 95% of per student mill levy override funds with Stargate.

Charter schools pay their authorizers for central administrative services, some are statutory and some are negotiated.

  • Stargate pays a fixed amount per student each year to our authorizing district, Adams 12 Five Star Schools, in negotiated central administrative costs and an additional per student amount each year in statutory central administrative costs.

Charter school portions of state and federal grant revenues are negotiated as a part of the Charter school contract.

Charter schools must finance and pay for facilities with operating budget models that will support 30 years of municipal bond payments from per pupil revenue. Traditional public schools utilize voter approved bond funding instead of operating revenue to cover facilities costs.

  • Stargate receives $285 per student in Charter School Capital Construction funding from the state to help offset facilities costs.

  • Stargate total salaries and benefits budget is 65%-68% of revenue. Generally, school district total salaries and benefits are 90% of revenue or more.

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Disclaimer: Please consider the context when evaluating financial transactions. Some transactions may appear improper on the surface but are perfectly normal and justifiable when placed in the proper context. We welcome your questions regarding our financial transactions or records.
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