This report presents a study of charter schools' use of startup grants and grants under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). For this research, case studies were conducted in 7 states that accounted for 91 percent of charter schools operating in the 1996-97 school year. The results indicate that these schools used federal startup funds for a variety of purposes, including school equipment and curriculum materials, technology, and facilities renovation or leasing. The findings suggest that charter schools have not been systematically denied access to Title I and IDEA funds and that the barriers charter schools face in accessing these funds appear to have no relation to charter schools' treatment as school districts or as members of school districts. Rather, it is barriers such as state systems that base funding allocations on the prior year's enrollment that have affected charter schools' access to these funds. However, most charter-school operators still believed that Title I and IDEA funds are fairly allocated to charter schools.
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