Washington, D.C. - The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools issued the statement below in response to the Consolidated Appropriations Act:
“This is an important week for our nation. We thank Congress and the Administration for working together to produce a relief package that, while far from perfect, will bring desperately needed aid to Americans who are suffering the devastating health and financial impact of the coronavirus. We further acknowledge their important action in fully funding the U.S. government to undertake the critical work we have before us.
Notably, we are pleased to see funding for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) was sustained at $440 million in fiscal year 2021. These innovative public schools currently serve 3.3 million students across the country, and at least five million more students would attend one if it were available. The CSP is the only federal source of funding to support the growth and replication of charter schools.
‘During the pandemic, charter schools saw significant enrollment spikes across the country. COVID-related school closures forced many parents to explore different educational options for their students, and charter schools emerged as a great public education choice that offered flexibility, adaptability and high-quality instruction for students. CSP funding will help meet the even greater demand for these innovative public schools,’ said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
The COVID emergency funding package provides $54.3 billion in relief for elementary and secondary education, plus an additional $4.1 billion in discretionary funding through the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund.
‘We are grateful that state education agencies and governors have access to additional resources to address the unique needs of the students in their states and to ensure equitable access for all. We urge state and local education officials to remember that Congress intended for them to use their discretion in allocating resources to better serve communities with the greatest needs. They must ensure all public schools—including charter schools—receive equitable funding under this aid package,’ added Rees.
The National Alliance is pleased to see other key provisions of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 that will help schools, students, and working families. Additional funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program will be a lifeline to many families with a child under age six whose local school or covered daycare reduced hours or has been closed. In addition, school food authorities and covered daycare centers will be partially (55%) reimbursed for costs incurred during sudden COVID-19 emergency school closures in Spring 2020.
Charter schools may also be able to take advantage of the five-year extension of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, which can help reduce the of financing charter school facilities. Under COVID relief funding, the NMTC was extended to include a $25 billion allocation for the next five years—the largest allocation ever.”