About the National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance
The National Resource Center on Charter School Finance and Governance was established in Fall 2006 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Innovation and Improvement. The National Resource Center is operated through a collaboration among:
- The Finance Project-a specialized non-profit research, consulting, technical assistance and training firm for public and private sector leaders nationwide that helps leaders make smart investment decisions, develop sound financing strategies, and build solid partnerships that benefit children, families and communities;
- Center on Educational Governance-an interdisciplinary research center of the University of Southern California's Rossier School of Education that focuses on the linkages of policy, educational governance and the improvement of urban school systems; and
- WestEd-a non-profit research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities to promote excellence, achieve quality, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults. WestEd serves as the evaluator for the National Resource Center.
The National Resource Center is guided by a 17-member National Advisory Board with a broad range of interdisciplinary expertise. These members represent a diverse set of national, state and local perspectives and organizational affiliations.
Successful and sustainable high-performing charter schools depend on more than the ideas and vision that drive them. Research suggests that most charter schools that fail are forced to close for non-academic reasons, most often because of organizational mismanagement and financial difficulties. To be successful and sustainable, charter schools must:
- Be operationally healthy, which includes having an effective organizational structure, governance and leadership; and
- Have sound financing, which includes adequate funding to meet their short- and long-term operational needs, and effective, transparent fiscal management systems to ensure that all funds entrusted to them are used lawfully and appropriately to support their missions.
Further, while scaling up charter schools depends on an understanding of what makes charter schools work and what makes them sustainable, it may often be difficult for state education policymakers, charter school authorizers and charter school operators to attain high-quality, practical information; tools; and technical assistance resources to address these issues.
In filling these voids and helping you address these various challenges, The National Resource Center will, over the next three years, provide:
- a clearinghouse that includes links to research reports, articles, tools and toolkits, and online charter organizations;
- promising practices;
- a searchable database of over 100 federal funding sources; and
- direct technical assistance, including individualized and customized support to help state education policy makers, local charter authorizers and charter school operators who are charged with encouraging, supporting and strengthening charter schools. This will be offered starting in 2009.