Washington, D.C. Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, congratulated and thanked Republicans and Democrats in the House and Senate for passing an omnibus appropriations bill for 2016 that substantially increases funding for the federal Charter Schools Program, and for passage of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act of 2015, which will benefit charter public schools and teachers.
"These bills are big wins for charter public schools and for teachers across America," Rees said. "With $80 million in additional funding for the Charter Schools Program, more high-quality charter schools will be able to open, replicate, and expand to serve more students who need better school options. In addition, the PATH Acts tax provisions will help to launch more charter schools and help teachers cover the expenses they incur as they deliver an outstanding experience to their students."
The omnibus appropriations package includes a nearly 32 percent ($80 million) funding increase for the Charter Schools Program (CSP) for fiscal year 2016. The $80 million increase brings total funding for the Charter Schools Program to $333.1 million, the highest level of funding in the programs history. The additional funding will provide more options for students and families who seek high-quality, innovative public schools and will reduce charter school wait lists that currently have nearly one million student names nationwide.
The PATH Act contains provisions that will help our nations education providers. They include:
- A permanent extension of the above-the-line deduction for the eligible expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers. Beginning in 2016, the deduction cap of $250 will be indexed to inflation and include professional development expenses.
- Authorization to allocate $3.5 billion of New Markets Tax Credits for each year from 2015 through 2019. New Markets Tax Credits help to finance construction of charter schools.
"The appropriations bills $80 million increase in funding for the Charter Schools Program and the tax provisions for educators and charter school operators in the PATH Act will make it possible for more students to access charter public schools in the coming years. Members of Congress did right by Americas students, families, and teachers, and we look forward to President Obama signing these bills into law," said Rees.
About the Charter Schools Program
The CSP is currently funded at $253.1 million and provides funds to help new charter schools open, replicate and expand the most successful charter school models, as well as support the financing of charter school facilities.
About Charter Schools
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 movement. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.