Second Round of Competition Begins for Federal Charter School Program Grant Funds

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Press Release, 8-29-19

Five Idaho public charter schools earned $800,000 each in federal grant support this past March. Idaho’s Communities of Excellence grant program is aimed at increasing the number of new, high-quality charter school seats across the Gem State.

The second round of grant competition opens on September 4th. Grants are available for the startup, replication, or expansion of up to seven public charter schools. Funding comes from a $17.1 million U.S. Department of Education grant awarded last year to Idaho’s Communities of Excellence consortium.

Idaho’s Communities of Excellence program aims to create new charter school seats for Idaho’s most educationally disadvantaged and rural students. These grant dollars are also available to public school districts interested in launching regional career tech academies, STEM academies or other public charter school options that they currently can’t offer on their own.

The Request for Applications opens September 4, 2019. In coordination with consortium partners, Bluum will conduct in-person Charter School Grant workshops across the state.

Applicants are required to attend these workshops in-person, and interested potential applicants are also encouraged to attend to better understand the intent of Idaho’s federal Communities of Excellence Charter School Program (CSP) Grant, and opportunities associated with it.

Workshop dates, registration information, and a full timeline of the application process can be found here: www.bluum.org/idaho-csp-grant

Additional competitive funding rounds are scheduled for Fall 2020 and Fall 2021.

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About Bluum
Bluum is a nonprofit organization committed to ensuring Idaho’s children reach their fullest potential by cultivating great leaders and innovative schools. For more information visit www.bluum.org

About Public Charter Schools
A public charter school is nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and is not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution. Public charter schools are open to all students who apply and cannot charge tuition. A charter school receiving CSP funds must use a lottery if more students apply for admissions to the charter school than can be admitted.

About the Federal CSP Grant
Idaho received $17,111,111 in funding over five years. At least 90 percent of these
dollars will flow to public charter school subgrantees for school start-up, school
replication and school expansion. At least seven percent must be utilized for state-level
technical assistance activities and program evaluation/research; three percent of this to
the Idaho Pubic Charter School Commission for technical assistance and new school
supports. No more than three percent for Bluum administration.

Federal CSP Program Description
The CSP State Entities program is newly authorized under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA), as amended by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) (20 U.S.C. 7221-7221j). Prior to enactment of the ESSA, the ESEA, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), authorized the Secretary to make awards to State educational agencies to enable them to conduct charter school subgrant programs in their States. The CSP State Entities program is under new law and has different eligibility requirements, priorities, definitions, application requirements, and selection criteria.

The major purposes of the CSP are to expand opportunities for all students, particularly traditionally underserved students, to attend charter schools and meet challenging State academic standards; provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of public charter schools; increase the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the United States; evaluate the impact of charter schools on student achievement, families, and communities; share best practices between charter schools and other public schools; encourage States to provide facilities support to charter schools; and support efforts to strengthen the charter school authorizing process.
The CSP grants to State Entities (CFDA number 84.282A) is a competitive grant program that enables State entities to award subgrants to eligible applicants in their State to open and prepare for the operation of new charter schools and to replicate and expand high-quality charter schools. Grant funds may also be used by the State entity to provide technical assistance to eligible applicants and authorized public chartering agencies in opening and preparing for the operation of new charter schools, or replicating or expanding high-quality charter schools; and to work with authorized public chartering agencies to improve authorizing quality, including developing capacity for, and conducting, fiscal oversight and auditing of charter schools.