Congressional lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives last week introduced companion legislation to a Senate bill that would provide start-up funds to charter schools. The bipartisan “Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act” enables educators to use a portion of federal grant monies under the Charter Schools Program for the charter application and start-up process. Congresswoman Julia Letlow (R-LA), Congresswoman Jill Tokuda (D-HI), Congressman John James (R-MI), and Congressman Juan Ciscomani (R-AZ) are sponsoring the bill.
Right now, the federal Charter Schools Program does not allow grant funds to support charter school planning. This bill would change that, allowing states to award grants of up to $100,000 for pre-planning purposes. States would also be permitted to direct up to 5% of their federal grant funds for these planning awards.