Accelify Blog

California to Receive $51.8 Million in Federal Funds for Charter Schools (CA)

August 19, 2010

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O’Connell today announced California was awarded nearly $51.8 million in federal Charter Schools Program grant funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement. The fact that California was a grant recipient was announced in July. However, the U.S. Department of Education recently announced how a total $136 million would be divided among 12 state education agencies including the California Department of Education (CDE).

"I would like to thank the Obama Administration and U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan for supporting California’s efforts to expand high-quality charter school options for students," said O’Connell.

O’Connell has long been a supporter of high-quality charter schools that can serve as laboratories of education innovation. A charter school is a public school that usually is created or organized by a group of teachers or community members, and may be sponsored by a local educational agency. These schools are generally exempt from most laws governing school districts. In exchange for this increased flexibility, charter schools are held accountable for improving student academic achievement as a way to stimulate the creativity and commitment of teachers, parents, and citizens.

The federal Charter Schools Program is designed to increase financial s upport for the startup and expansion of charter schools, build a better national understanding of the public charter school model, and increase the number of high-quality public charter schools across the nation.

As the grantee, CDE will make the funding available as subgrants on a competitive basis to developers of charter schools, once federal review of several requested waivers is complete, and the state Legislature has approved a budget and the disbursement of the funds. Once an applicant is awarded a subgrant through CDE, the funding may be used for the planning, design, and implementation of the charter school and its education program. Preference will be given to subgrantees to help develop high-quality charter schools in high-need communities.

"The federal funds will increase the number of high-quality charter schools in California with stronger fiscal, governance and academic accountability training and reporting requirements," said CDE Charter School Division Director Beth Hunkapiller. "These funds are intended to sustain charter schools’ capacity to improve the academic achievement of students and support the dissemination of effective practices."