Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, issues the following statement on the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations’ proposed FY23 Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies Bill:
“The National Alliance applauds the United States Senate Committee on Appropriations for the proposed FY23 Appropriations Bill which includes $440 million for the Charter Schools Program (CSP). This funding amount is consistent with President Biden’s budget request and seeks to restore the $40 million cut proposed by House appropriators. We thank Chairwoman Patty Murray and Ranking Member Roy Blunt for their leadership, advocacy, and commitment to ensuring that the CSP continues to enable public charter schools to open, grow, and replicate each year.
“At its current funding level of $440 million, the CSP amounts to less than one percent of federal spending on K-12 education. However, public charter school enrollment has increased across the country over the past two years, while district public school enrollment has decreased. Further, a new poll clearly shows support for public education options is stronger than ever among parents, with 77% of them wanting more public charter school offerings in their area.
“As such, we believe CSP funding should better reflect the need and demand for public charter schools and provide all families with a choice of what type of education is best for their student. We will continue to work with our partners in both chambers to support increased funding to the program of $500 million as deliberations for FY 2023 funding continue.
“Finally, we are pleased that language in the Senate’s appropriations bill does not propose additional constraints to the CSP program, as just a few weeks ago the U.S. Department of Education finalized new rules for accessing CSP funding. These rules already complicate the grant process in many ways.
“The administration’s pledge to lift all forms of excellence in education cannot be fully achieved without explicit support for all public schools, both charter and district. Charter schools are innovative, student-centered public schools that enroll more than 3.6 million students and overwhelmingly serve students of color.
“For more than 25 years, the CSP has provided states with resources to help ensure every child can access a high-quality public education. It is the backbone for both the public education system and the charter school movement, strengthening their efforts to provide more equitable opportunities for all students. Providing access to a high-quality, public education to children across America is essential for the success of our country’s future.”