Washington D.C. - The Administration’s FY 2019 budget request for $500 million in funding for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) is appreciated and is a step in the right direction. In particular, the Administration’s request to reserve up to $100 million for Credit Enhancement and State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grants is an important acknowledgment of the challenges that public charter schools face in acquiring, improving and expanding their facilities. Recent research indicates that among the greatest obstacles to the growth and expansion of charter schools is the inability to finance safe and appropriate school space. This is in part because charter schools—though public—do not have access to the same facilities financing tools as do district-operated schools. If we are to meet the needs and expectations of our nation’s students and their families for high-quality public school choices, Congress must prioritize robust new financing tools tailored to the needs of charter schools.
Protecting funding for Title I and IDEA is also critical to ensuring that our students, particularly those facing challenges, receive the academic support that they need to succeed. We commend the Administration for the CSP, Title I, and IDEA requests. Congress should approve them—swiftly. However, we hasten to add that all public school students, particularly the most vulnerable, need to be part of safe, healthy and secure families and communities. We are concerned that other elements of the budget or other actions by the Administration may destabilize the families and communities in which all students live and undercut the benefits that they would receive from CSP, Title I and IDEA.
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
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. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.