Georgia to receive $38M federal grant to expand charter schools

(The Center Square) — The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a nearly $38.3 million grant to fund the expansion of charter schools throughout Georgia.

The money awarded to the State Charter Schools Foundation of Georgia is from the fiscal 2022 Charter Schools Program State Entity grant competition. The grant will fund the expansion of the Georgia Strategic Charter School Growth Initiative.

State Charter Schools Foundation President Michele Neely told The Center Square that the Georgia Strategic Charter School Growth Initiative currently includes technical assistance to schools and grants to support the creation, replication, and expansion. With the CSP grant, the initiative can continue its work, offering cohort training opportunities and grants to new, replicating and expanding charter schools.

“Charter schools use creative approaches to reach their students and prepare them for a bright future,” Neely said in an announcement.

“More families in Georgia are asking for new and different educational opportunities for their children, and over 14,000 children are on waiting lists to enroll in charter schools across the state,” Neely added. “This Charter Schools Program State Entity grant will enable us to provide grants and training to open and expand charter schools where they will benefit communities and families.”

Neely told The Center Square that 90% of the CSP funds would be dedicated to sub-grants to charter schools and 7% would go to technical assistance.

Eligible schools can apply for grants of up to $1.5 million per school, and the largest grants will go to rural and high schools. The initiative in Georgia will prioritize funding for schools in neighborhoods without charter schools, schools engaged in community outreach and schools seeking partnerships with local public schools and districts.

“Charter schools are one of many innovative ways available today in Georgia for families to customize their student’s education and give them the best learning environment possible,” Buzz Brockway, executive vice president of public policy for the Georgia Center for Opportunity, said in a statement.

“As educational options continue to expand across our state, charter schools will continue to play an important role,” Brockway added. “These new funds from the federal government will go a long way toward ensuring thousands more students have access to a great education, regardless of their family income level or zip code.”

The Georgia Strategic Charter School Growth Initiative was established with a $4.1 million grant Gov. Brian Kemp, a Republican, awarded as part of the Governors Emergency Education Relief Fund.