federal Charter Schools Program Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

Federal Charter Schools Program Maintains Level Funding for 2024

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The federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) will maintain its current level of funding for 2024. This is good news for a program that, with funding set at $440 million, represents a small fraction of federal spending on education–but plays a big role in helping charter schools nationwide grow. The program provides grants to help new charter schools launch and existing charter schools replicate or expand. In addition, CSP grants target access to facilities and more.

Eric Paisner, the acting president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released a statement earlier this week about the FY 2024 budget, noting:

In the FY2024 Budget, signed by President Biden just days agothe federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) was protected from cut. Congress included level funding of $440 million for the CSPwhich was a remarkable victory given the contentious nature of the budget appropriations process this year. This marks the fifth year of level funding to the nation’s only source of dedicated federal funding for the creation of high-quality and in-demand public charter schools.  

The FY2024 budget includes new guiding language to allow for more flexibility in the use of CSP funds, including allocating funds to programs based on the needs of the field and supporting technical assistance for subgrantees. Most importantly, the cap is lifted on the State Facilities Incentives Grant, which makes it possible for the program to award new grants more frequently than once every five years. This means more schools will benefit from this funding stream as well as more states will be supported as they establish eligibility for this grant.

We thank the Appropriations Committee Chairs and Ranking Members for recognizing the value and educational opportunity public charter schools provide to families across the nation.

More advocacy for CSP lies ahead, however. Unfortunately, President Biden’s 2025 budget includes a $40 million cut to CSP. The Alliance is asking Congress for $500 million for the program. In addition, Congress is considering two bills that will amplify the work of CSP. Read more about those bills here. See more about the technical changes to CSP in the 2024 budget.

With one year to go, NC ACCESS is removing barriers to charter attendance

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A new report on the NC ACCESS Program shows it is succeeding in opening up educational opportunities for students. The program, which is allocating nearly $37 million in school-level grants, seeks to remove barriers for educationally disadvantaged students so they can attend charter schools. Funded through the federal Charter Schools Program, the NC ACCESS grant was due to sunset this fall–but has now been extended through September 30, 2024.

At this week’s meeting of the state’s Charter Schools Review Board, members heard a promising update from Dr. Barbara O’Neal of the Office of Charter Schools. Sharing data from a Friday Institute program evaluation, she said she was “really pleased” with results.

NC ACCESS Highlights

  • Last year, the program served over 25,000 educationally disadvantaged students.
  • Since the program’s inception, grants have benefited 62 charter schools.
  • All NC ACCESS schools offer transportation and lunch.
  • Most of the schools are on track to offer a weighted lottery, prioritizing admission for educationally disadvantaged students.
  • 90% of the schools are deemed high-quality schools. O’Neal told Review Board members that her office will be working with low-performing schools this year.

Source: Barbara O’Neal, NC ACCESS Presentation to the Charter Schools Review Board, November 6, 2023.

Leaders from several NC ACCESS schools, including Eugene Slocum of Alpha Academy and Derrick McCullough of Central Carolina Academy (both Coalition member schools), shared updates with the Review Board.

Congressional lawmakers want to boost funding for Charter Schools Program

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Funding for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) may get a boost. Congressional lawmakers are proposing an additional $10 million for CSP, which provides grants for new charter schools as well as charter school replication and expansion across the country. Program funding has not increased in recent years.

Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released a statement about the proposed funding increase, which is in the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee’s FY 24 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Bill. She noted:

All students and families deserve access to a high-quality public education. We thank the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Subcommittee members for recognizing the value and educational opportunity public charter schools provide to families across the nation with an increase of $10 million to the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) and by providing important new flexibility for state program operators. The program, which has been flat funded for four years, expands opportunities for students.

Read the bill text here.

New report: Federal Charter Schools Program & ROI

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A new report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools highlights the tangible return on federal investment in the Charter Schools Program (CSP). Released earlier this month, the report outlines numerous ways the CSP has helped bolster the charter movement nationwide.

Small investment–but big impact

Funded at $440M in FY 2023, the CSP accounts for less than 1% of all federal spending on K-12 education. Moreover, as the Alliance notes, the CSP is “the only source of dedicated federal funding to support the creation, expansion, and replication of public charter schools.” Yet its impacts are big.

In a press release, Nina Rees, the president and CEO of the Alliance, said:

This report explores the impact of the CSP on communities around the country, and makes the case for increased funding for the program. In the report, we explain the charter school model, offer a brief history of the CSP, profile inspiring grantees, and address persistent misconceptions. Charter schools are a vital part of the public school ecosystem, and by advocating for the CSP, we can help more students access a public school that meets their unique needs.

Read the full report.