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charter schools, traditional public schools, school district staff, school district funding, Right-to- Work state laws


Using time series data with several OLS regressions and fixed effects models with suitable controls, I find that higher school district full-time equivalent staff counts (FTEs) are associated with lower charter share in states with Right-to-Work (RTW) laws. I find also that proportional expenditures per pupil are negatively associated with charter share in non-RTW (“union”) states. Charter schools have grown rapidly but not uniformly across states, with 2018 enrollment ranging from 0.0 to 17.1% of traditional public school enrollment. Researchers have generally focused on party, urbanicity, teacher union strength, and racial and ethnic politics to explain variations in charter enrollment. Here, I argue that larger traditional public school staffs or higher per-pupil expenditures can inhibit charter growth, depending on states’ RTW status.