Let’s Talk About the Charter Schools Program

Over the next few weeks, our organization will join the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to ask Congress to support the Charter Schools Program (CSP). This is the program that has made it possible for half of public charter schools across the country to open—including many in our state—and we are proud of what we’ve accomplished through the CSP.

What is it?
The Charter Schools Program is the only source of federal funding that helps charter schools open and grow. It’s been around since 1995 and has helped to fund nearly half of the charter schools open in the United States. In September of 2020, New Jersey received $63 million in CSP funding to distribute to eligible applicants through competitive subgrants. Schools are able to apply until March 31, 2021,

Where does the money go?
The largest portion of CSP grants help with the costs associated with opening a new school—recruitment, professional development, supplies, renovations, community engagement, buying buses, etc. The remaining money goes towards helping good charter schools grow, helping charter schools access facilities and quality improvement.

How much are we talking about?
Currently, the CSP is funded at $440M. That’s less than 1% of all federal K-12 funding—even though charter schools educate nearly 7% of public-school students. Our state has received  $105,137,605 over the years, so if you’ve received a startup grant from our department of education, there’s a good chance that money came from the CSP.

Why should I care?
If nothing else, we have learned a lot about education over the past year. We have learned that different approaches work for different kids. We have learned parents need to have a seat at the decision-making table. And we’ve learned that after a full year of unpredictable learning, we need MORE high-quality options for kids—not less.

What can I do?
You can talk to your members of Congress. We just sent a new Congress to Washington, but our job as voters isn’t over. Now it’s time for us to make sure they understand what their voters stand for. We stand for public education, we stand for quality, and we stand for our kids.

This spring, NJPSCA will join the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in asking for $500M for the Charter Schools Program—still well under 1% of all K-12 spending—but we’re only strong if we stand together. In the coming weeks, we will be reaching out with specific “Calls to Action” that YOU can do to maintain this federal funding. Your actions can make a difference in ensuring that we continue to provide quality education for every child regardless of their zip code, race, ethnicity, income, or ability.  They deserve no less.

Learn more here:  National Alliance for Public Charter Schools