Two Charter Schools Program Competitions Announced

Last year, when the Department announced 20 grants awarded for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) Non-SEA program competitions, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said; "High-quality charter schools across the country are making amazing differences in our children's lives. These grantees serve a range of students, including those from disadvantaged backgrounds, and prepare them for college and careers." The Non-SEA (State education agency) competitions provide support for charter schools located in states that are not receiving funds from the CSP's SEA competition; currently 19 States and the District of Columbia receive SEA funding. Non-SEA grant funds support planning and implementation of program designs for new or existing charter schools or the sharing and dissemination of information about best practices for charter schools.

Last week, CSP announced the start of the 2013 competition with the publication of two Non-SEA notices inviting applicants (NIA) in the Federal Register. Since its inception, CSP has worked to increase understanding of charter schools and to support high-quality charter schools in communities nationwide. The CSP team is excited for that work to continue this year with the non-SEA competitions. The Department plans to award up to $2 million to grantees of both the Non-SEA Planning, Program Design and Implementation and the Non-SEA Dissemination competitions, and estimates making between 10 and 14 awards.

For 2013, the Department is particularly interested in encouraging charter schools to develop and implement innovative strategies to meet the needs of educationally disadvantaged students. Therefore, the NIAs include one absolute priority aimed at accelerating learning and helping to improve high school graduation and college enrollment rates in high-poverty schools or, in the case of new charter schools, grantees will target for enrollment students from low-income families.

For those interested in finding out more, pre-application webinars to provide information and answer questions will be held at the following (EST) times:

  1. June 17, 2013, 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; and
  2. June 20, 2013, 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

There is no fee to register for the webinars, but those interested in attending should RSVP to charterschools@ed.gov, and include their name, organization, contact information, and preferred webinar date and time with the subject heading NON-SEA PRE-APPLICATION MEETING.