U.S. Department of Education grants $245 million for charter school expansion

The United States Department of Education announced yesterday the awarding of $245 million in fiscal year 2016 toward the expansion and startup of charter schools across the country through its Charter Schools Program.

The grants total $177 million to eight states through their state education agencies.  Unfortunately, not on the list is Washington, D.C.  There are also monetary awards to 15 high performing charter management organizations.  Included in this group are some that operate here in the nation’s capital such as Democracy Prep PCS and KIPP PCS.  Also receiving a grant is the Denver School of Science and Technology that I visited this past summer.  The total amount provided in this category will be $67,683.

In a direct refutation of the National Associated for the Advancement of Colored People’s call for a moratorium on additional charters, U.S. Secretary of Education John King commented about the awards that “Innovative charter schools are continuously developing new and impactful practices to close achievement gaps and provide all students with the skills and abilities they need to thrive.  We are proud to support these efforts along with strong charter school authorizing and accountability, particularly given these grantees’ commitment to communities facing steep academic challenges.”

The press release announcing the grants details that since 1995 the CSP program has provided over $3 billion to charter school management organizations and the states.  The funds have resulted in the addition of over 2,500 charter schools enrolling approximately 1 million students.

The CMO grants are targeted toward those bodies that serve low income students.  It is estimated that 180 new or expanded charters will result from this investment.

The dollars are dependent upon Congressional authorization.

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