Georgia Is Awarded $24.4 Million to Expand Public Charter Schools

Georgia will receive $24.447 million to allow it to expand the number and quality of the Peach State’s charter schools via the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program. The agency announced a total of $245 million would be distributed to states and charter management organizations. The funds come from the federal DOE’s 2016 budget. If funding is provided for 2017, the Peach State could receive an additional $21.957 million, for a total recommended funding amount of $46,404,184.

The Charter Schools Program is a funding mechanism to allow the creation or expansion of public charter schools in the United States. Previous grants have allowed the launch of over 2,500 charter schools. This year’s grants could fund around 490 new and expanded public charter schools nationwide. In a press release announcing the grants, U.S. Education Secretary John B. King, Jr. said, “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.”

Georgia is expected to run a grant competition that will be used to determine how its share of the program will be distributed. Based on an abstract of the Georgia DOE application for the Charter Schools Program, the funds will likely to go to charter schools targeting disadvantaged populations. The grant application listed these goals:

  1. To increase the number of high quality charter schools in Georgia, especially among underserved students in rural and urban settings. Objective 1 directly aligns with expanding the number of high quality charter schools.
  2. Improve student outcomes for students attending charter schools, specifically for educationally disadvantaged students.
  3. Increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students attending high quality charter schools around the state.
  4. Increase support for charter schools and charter schools’ academic success in working with students of all backgrounds, including students with disabilities, students of all racial and economic backgrounds, and ensuring compliance with all special education and civil rights laws.

The last time Georgia got a CSP grant was in 2010.

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typical federal interference w our state’s right to enhance local control and school choice