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FY09 Funding for Federal Public Charter Schools Programs

National Alliance

$216,031,000 appropriated to the Public Charter Schools Program, State Facilities Incentive Grants Program, and the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program for FY2009, a $5 million increase over FY2008.

On March 11th, the President signed into law HR 1105, the omnibus appropriations act that finalizes federal funding levels for FY2009. This bill provides the remaining 6 months of federal funding for many agencies and their programs. Last year, Congress failed to pass the specific bill to fund the Department of Education (among many other appropriations bills), and thus was forced to pass a continuing resolution which flat-funded a substantial number of agencies, including the Department of Education through this week. That Bill was HR 2638.

President Bush signed HR 2638, the FY2009 Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing Appropriations Act, into law on September 30th providing the first half of this fiscal year’s funding. HR 1105 provides the remaining 6 months of funding for federal programs this year. Importantly, the legislation increases federal funding for the three charter school programs by $5 million dollars.

The federal government funds three charter school specific programs: the Public Charter Schools Program (CSP), the State Facilities Incentive Grants Program, and the Credit Enhancement for Charter School Facilities Program. These three programs were appropriated a total of $216,031,000 for FY2009. Of that amount, at least $195 million must be allocated to the CSP to continue funding the start up grant program. Thus, states looking for new funding in 2009 will have a sizeable amount of money available to them. Additionally, the Department will be able to fulfill its obligations to states in their second or third year of CSP grant funding. The remaining $21,031,000 is to be allocated by the Department among the three programs to best meet the charter sector’s needs.

The Alliance has already begun efforts to secure increased federal charter funding in the FY2010 budget. The President released an initial FY2010 budget overview on February, 26th that prominently called for taking steps towards doubling federal funding for the charter school programs. For information on the FY10 budget release, click here. A more complete budget will be released in early April.