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National Alliance for Public Charter Schools: Economic Modeling of Charter Support Services

Case Overview

 

FSG was engaged by the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) to research opportunities to increase the reach of and develop business models for the delivery of support services by Charter Support Organizations.

 

The Challenge

With funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, FSG was engaged to develop business models for provision of charter support services at a regional or national level in order to:

  • Improve school access to high-quality support services
  • Improve financial sustainability in the movement – both for CSOs and the schools
  • Reduce repetition (i.e. avoid having all state associations recreating the wheel)
  • Free up resources to invest in advocacy and other critical services
Approach & Solutions

FSG interviewed more than 50 key stakeholders including state association leaders, funders, and school leaders, and conducted a field-wide survey reaching 40 charter support organizations. Both the interviews and the survey focused on identifying demand for current, planned, and desired CSO services. Initial research and interviews identified 25 potential services, which FSG narrowed down to nine services with the highest potential for scaling.

For each service, FSG created an overview of the specifics included within the service and a detailed economic model for service provision. The dimensions of the model included:

  • Estimated market demand
  • Geographic scope (e.g., provided locally, regionally, or nationally)
  • Likely pricing structure
  • Estimated costs and revenue based on:
    • Required adoption rates to achieve scale
    • Expected surplus or required philanthropic subsidy
    • Potential fee-for-service
    • Start-up and sustaining costs
    • Broader implications to quality
    • Promising potential provider(s)
    • Implementation considerations
    • Barriers to scaling

Overall, the economic models projected that CSOs could nearly double their earned revenue. FSG shared these findings directly with the field at the NAPCS conference, and created a short report to the field sharing key survey findings.

To put the proposed services into context for NAPCS, FSG developed four business models illustrating different alternatives for delivery of the nine priority services to CSOs – and developed detailed roll out plans to make the services as ready to implement as possible. To ensure that services had the greatest likelihood of success garnering needed funding, FSG developed a “funder pitch deck” (materials included statement of problem, opportunity, and solution) for NAPCS to use to in conversations with potential funders.

About NAPCS

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. With a goal of increasing the number of high-quality charter schools available to all families, particularly in disadvantaged communities that lack access to quality public schools, the Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement.

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