WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced more than $131 million in new grant funding to create and expand hundreds of high-quality public charter schools across the country. Recipients of the funding include three statewide charter school associations, five state educational agencies, and more than 10 nonprofit organizations. Today’s announcement will provide relief to the millions of American families currently stuck on long waiting lists hoping to attend a public charter school.
“The coronavirus pandemic has made it clearer than ever before that students need the freedom to choose where, when and how they learn,” said Secretary DeVos. “All too many students, particularly the most vulnerable, have fallen further behind because the one-size-fits-all system couldn’t transition and adapt to meet their needs. A bright spot has been high-quality charter schools, many of which pivoted quickly and kept learning going. These grants will help to ensure these high-quality options are available to even more students in the future.”
Awarded as part of the Charter Schools Program (CSP), which is authorized under Part C of Title IV of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), this funding will help create more seats in existing charter schools, launch new public charter schools, and guarantee charter schools have access to facilities. The CSP is an effective, bipartisan-supported program that has helped create tens of thousands of new public charter schools since it was first created in 1994.
Over 90% of the funds will support projects located in certified Opportunity Zones. Currently, more than 70% of Opportunity Zones lack a public charter school option for families. Additionally, nearly $1 million in funding will support the creation and expansion of public charter schools to serve Native American communities, a longstanding priority for Secretary DeVos.
The CSP includes multiple subprograms designed to meet the variety of public charter school needs, including creation, expansion, and access to facilities. Recipients of funding include: