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2018 Charter School Grant Opportunities

The U.S. Department of Education and various private foundations offer funding for educator development, facilities improvements and program enhancement.


The grant landscape is ever-changing, including charter school grant opportunities. An FY18 Omnibus spending bill was recently passed by the current administration. Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, intends to funnel more than $1 billion toward private school vouchers and other school choice plans with an emphasis on charter schools. On March 23, 2018, Congress authorized $400 million in funding for charter schools; that is an increase of $58 million from last year. Keep an eye on the Department of Education funding opportunity forecast.

Charter schools should consider potential partners to increase their chance of funding from the DOE and private foundations. Potential partners include nonprofit and for-profit organizations, county/city governments, colleges, police and fire departments, military bases, hospitals, and local businesses.

4 DOE CHARTER SCHOOL OPPORTUNITIES

The Department of Education Office of Innovation & Improvement Charter Schools Program (CSP) is the gatekeeper to “create promising new public charter schools, to replicate high-quality public charter schools and to disseminate information about effective practices within charter schools.” Additionally, the Charter Schools Program assists charter schools in locating school facilities, rewards high-quality charter schools and advances national programs that support charter schools.

The Charter Schools Program Developer Grants offer funding to open new charter schools and to replicate and expand high-quality charter schools. The grantee must serve early childhood, elementary school or secondary school students. To find out if you are eligible, check the Federal Register. An offshoot of this prospect is the State Entities Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program Developer Grants which enable state entities to award subgrants to open and replicate new charter schools. Applications are due April 16 and April 18, 2018 respectively, and the average awards are $200,000.

The Credit Enhancement For Charter School Facilities Program objective is to reward innovation and improve loans and bond financing. Charter schools can access private-sector and other non-Federal capital to obtain, construct and renovate facilities at a reasonable cost. The awardee must place the funds, other than administrative costs, in an established account. The account can guarantee or facilitate insuring bonds, notes, debt, loan, and interests for charter schools. Additionally, the program identifies lending sources, boosts private lending and finds activities that promote lending to charter schools. The application is due May 11, 2018, and the average award is nine million dollars.

The Supporting Effective Educator Development (SEED) Grant Program offers funds to help increase the number of highly effective school educators. The What Works Clearinghouse has resources to assist universities and colleges to implement evidence-based preparation, development or enhancement opportunities to create highly effective school educators. The application is due May 15, 2018, and the average award is $3.5 million.

Be aware that the fluidity of the current administration and local state DOE decreased staffing will lead to slower grant approvals.  

3 CHARTER SCHOOL PRIVATE FOUNDATION OPPORTUNITIES

As the current administration finalizes grant opportunities, keep in mind there are also many private foundation grants to help fund charter schools. A good starting point to research private foundation grants is the National Charter School Resource Center (NCSRC). The NCSRC is the go to website for “one-time and ongoing fellowships, grants, prizes and scholarships for charter schools.”  

The Braitmayer Foundation offers grants for curricular and school reform initiatives, and innovative professional development opportunities for teachers.

The Louis Calder Foundation focus is education reform. The foundation offers alternatives to underperforming public schools. The foundation’s objective is for charter schools to produce meaningful results through emphasis on academic achievement.  The Nashville Classical Charter School is an excellent example and was awarded $125,000 for grade-level growth of a new elementary school.

The Walton Family Foundation offers Public Charter School Startup grants for educators to develop and launch new charter schools. In the last twenty years, the foundation invested more than $407 million to grow high-quality charter schools.  To see if you meet the initial qualifying criteria, complete the online eligibility questionnaire.

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