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Alliance Statement on U.S. Department of Education Awarding $50 Million to Support Charter Growth and Replication

For Immediate Release:
Contact: Sarah Johnson, (202) 521-2826
Deborah Veney Robinson, (202) 521-2828
pressroom@publiccharters.org

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools applauds the U.S. Department of Education for awarding $50 million in Charter School Grant Program to replicate and expand high-quality public charter schools. In response to this announcement, Peter C. Groff, president and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released the following statement:

“For the first time ever, the federal government‘s Charter School Grant Program is being used to grow the nation’s best charter schools. Today is a great day for the awardees and for the thousands of families and children who will now be able to attend high-quality public charter schools. It is especially fitting that these grants are announced now, when America’s attention is focused on improving public education like never before. With the recent release of Waiting for ‘Superman’ and on the heels of NBC’s Education Nation Summit this week, all eyes are on education reform – and the role of charter schools in particular. It says a lot that the U.S. Department of Education took this very visible step at this time, and announced the awards for growing our best charter schools.

The Department has taken a great step to show its commitment to ensuring parents and children across the country have high-quality public charter school options, and we encourage them to continue this work. The demand for charter schools has never been greater, and these schools need our support more than ever. Because charter schools on average receive only 80 percent of the funding available to other public schools in the same district, these grants are incredibly important. Applications for this round of funding exceeded $350 million. In addition, last year more than 420,000 children were hoping, but unable, to secure a seat at a public charter school. We call on the Obama Administration to continue their efforts to expand and replicate high-quality public charter schools, and also to ensure charter management organizations like these awardees are able to directly access funding for their teachers through the recently passed Education Jobs Funding.

We look forward to continuing our work with Congress and the Obama Administration through the appropriations and authorization process. Our goal is to ensure charter schools are a core component of our nation’s education reform efforts, and that the best charter models are able to grow in fiscal year 2011 and beyond.”

In past years, Charter Schools Program funds were only available for the start-up of new charter schools. In partnership with the entire charter school sector, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is especially grateful to President Obama and his Administration for working with us to make this important change last year through the appropriations process. We salute the bi-partisan Members of Congress who worked on this issue, including House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.), House Committee on Appropriations Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), Representative Jared Polis (D-Colo.), Representative Jerry Lewis (R-Calif.), Ranking Education and Labor Committee Member John Kline (R-Minn.), Representative Howard McKeon (R-Calif.), Representative Thomas Petri (R-Wis.), Representative Rush Holt (D-N.J.), Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.), Senator Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), and Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) who through their various support and committees ensured this change took place.

The grants are expected to serve 76,000 students in 127 new and 31 expanded charter schools over the next five years. The following networks were awarded grants and the amount listed is the first-year award amount for each grant:

Charter School Network First-Year Award Amount
Achievement First $1,675,403
Aspire Public Schools $5,587, 500
Foundation for a Greater Opportunity $1,483,796
IDEA Public Schools $8,734,617
KIPP Foundation in consortium with KIPP Regions $14,550,084
LEARN Charter School Network $1,025,750
Mastery Charter Schools $5,130,000
Noble Network of Charter Schools $3,269, 766
YES Prep Public Schools $2,781,511
Propel Schools $1,149,586
Success Charter Network $1,986,987
Uncommon Schools $2,625,000

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (Alliance) is the national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the charter school movement. The Alliance works to increase the number of high-performing charter schools available to all families, particularly low-income and minority families who currently do not have access to quality public schools. The Alliance provides assistance to state charter school associations and resource centers, develops and advocates for improved public policies, and serves as the united voice for this large and diverse movement. More than 1.6 million students attend nearly 5,000 charter schools in 40 states and the District of Columbia.