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Broad Coalition of Education Reform and Charter School Leaders Urge Administration to Increase Charter School Funding

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today a broad coalition of state associations, charter school operators, and national advocacy groups sent letters urging the administration to increase funding for charter schools in the president’s upcoming budget proposal. The letters, written to Education Secretary Arne Duncan and OMB Director Sylvia Burwell, ask for $330 million for the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) that provides start up grants for launching new charter schools, financial support to replicate and expand successful models, as well as important facilities funding. The leaders argue that funding should “correspond with increasing demand from parents for high-quality charter schools.” At the start of the 2012-2013 school year, there were more than 500,000 individual students on waiting lists and those numbers have only continued to grow. As the letters note, “states with access to CSP funds have opened up more than 90 percent of the new charter schools across the country.” In addition, CSP has invested directly in “public charter school operators based on their proven track records of success in significantly increasing academic achievement and attainment for all students.” The letters also site a CREDO study that reported charter schools in several cities are far out-performing comparable traditional public schools, especially for low-income, minority, and ELL students. “I am pleased to see many education reform and charter school advocates from across the country come together to make this important request,” said National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President and CEO Nina Rees. “Public charter schools continue to provide parents and students with valuable options–especially where our current system is failing them. There are few better investments than to give these innovative schools and school leaders the resources they need to expand so they can serve even more children.” The letters ask for $205 million for the State Educational Agencies grant and $75 million for the CSP Grants for the Replication and Expansion of High Quality Charter Schools. The remaining $50 million dollars would be split between facilities support and national activities such as grants to individual charter schools in states that do not have a CSP grant. The federal government currently funds the CSP at $241 million, which reflects fewer dollars than the program has previously received due to the 2013 Budget Control Act. The first set of letters are signed by nine national education reform advocacy groups, including the National Alliance. Click here to view the letter to Secretary Duncan and here to view the letter to Director Burwell. The second set of letters are signed by more than 60 state charter school associations and charter school networks. Click here to view the letter to Secretary Duncan and here to view the letter to Director Burwell. About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. www.publiccharters.org.