New federal grant program to funnel $65M to charters
- A new competitive grant worth a total of $65 million has been announced by the U.S. Department of Education, earmarked specifically for Charter Management Organizations (CMO's) to support charter school expansion.
- In a Tuesday afternoon announcement about the new grants, the department nodded to a 2013 study by Stanford University's Center for Research on Education Outcomes showing charter school students' performance in charters managed by CMOs increases annually.
- Previously, the department's Charter Schools Program has distributed over $3 billion intended to help provide students with equitable educational opportunities through charter schools.
The grant application has a deadline of June 20, and applications are being accepted online at the CMO Applicant Info and Eligibility website. Only nonprofit charter management organizations and other not for profit organizations are eligible for the 10-20 grants that will be administered.
Some states, like New York, require all charter schools to contract exclusively with nonprofit management companies. Other states have no such mandate; according to a 2013 report by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado, Michigan, Arizona and Florida lead the nation in the number of for-profit CMOs operating schools.
States are still grappling with questions surrounding charter school oversight and accountability. Kentucky, for example, is now considering Senate Bill 253, which calls for local school boards to govern new charters. The bill grants school boards the same oversight over charter schools as they have over public schools in the state and evens out funding formulas between charters and traditional schools. That bill has already passed the state's Senate in a 28-9 vote.
- U.S. Department of Education press release U.S. Department of Education Launches $65 Million Grant Competition for Creating, Expanding High-Quality Public Charter Schools