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U.S. Department of Education: Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP) – National Dissemination Grants

Deadline: July 9, 2018

The major purposes of the Quality Charter Schools Program (CSP) are to expand opportunities for all students, particularly traditionally underserved students, to attend public charter schools and meet challenging state academic standards; provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of 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.

CSP National Dissemination Grants will provide funds to entities to support the charter school sector and increase the number of high-quality charter schools available to the nation’s students by disseminating best practices regarding charter schools. The initiative includes two absolute priorities and two competitive preference priorities — one that is within Absolute Priority 1 and one that applies to both Absolute Priority 1 and Absolute Priority 2, as follows. An applicant must meet at least one Absolute Priority in order to apply.

Absolute Priority 1 – Strengthening Charter School Authorizing and Oversight: One of the primary statutory purposes of the CSP is to support efforts to strengthen the charter school authorizing process to improve performance management, including transparency, oversight and monitoring (including financial audits), and evaluation of charter schools. In addition, the CSP State Entities program has a strong focus on authorizing, including a requirement that grantees reserve a portion of funds to provide technical assistance to charter school authorizers and developers and work with authorizers to improve authorizing quality. Specifically, the priority is focused on projects that develop, identify, or expand, and disseminate information on best practices in authorizing and the oversight of charter schools by public chartering agencies, including in one or more of the following areas:

(i) Conducting charter school application reviews
(ii) Establishing governance standards and practices for charter schools
(iii) Promoting and monitoring the compliance of charter schools and authorized public chartering agencies (as defined in this notice) with Federal, State, or local, academic, financial, operational (including school safety), or other applicable requirements
(iv) Evaluating the performance of charter schools or authorized public chartering agencies
(v) Facilitating the replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools
(vi) Improving the academic, financial, or operational performance of charter schools
(vii) Closing persistently underperforming charter schools

To meet this priority, an applicant must propose to disseminate best-practices information widely in more than one state with a charter school law.

Competitive Preference Priority (within Absolute Priority 1) – Building Capacity in the Authorizing Process for Educational Agencies with the Most Need. Competitive preference will be given to applications that propose to target one or more of the following: states that have enacted laws in the last five years allowing charter schools to open; authorized public chartering agencies with fewer than ten charter schools; and authorized public chartering agencies that authorize a significant number of charter schools experiencing significant low performance or non-compliance with academic, financial, governance, or operational (including school safety) requirements.

Absolute Priority 2 — Improving Charter School Access to Facilities and Facility Financing: This priority supports projects that develop, identify or expand, and disseminate information on and best practices in supporting charter schools in accessing and financing facilities, including in one or more of the following areas:

(i) Access to public and private (including philanthropic) funding for facilities
(ii) Access to public facilities, including the right of first refusal
(iii) Access to per-pupil facilities aid to charter schools to provide the schools with funding that is dedicated solely to charter school facilities
(iv) Access to credit enhancements and other subsidies
(v) Access to bonds or mill levies by charter schools, or by other public entities for the benefit of charter schools
(vi) Access to interest in a facility by purchase, lease, donation, or otherwise, including an interest held by a third party, for the benefit of a charter school
(vii) Planning for facility acquisition by charter schools, including comprehensive analysis of facility needs

To meet this priority, an applicant must propose to disseminate best-practices information widely in more than one State with a charter school law.

Competitive Preference Priority (within Absolute Priority 2): Empowering Families and Individuals To Choose a High-Quality Education That Meets Their Unique Needs: Competitive preference will be given to projects that address increasing access to educational choice for one or more of the following groups of children or students:

(i) Children or students with disabilities
(ii) English learners
(iii) Students who are Indians, as defined in section 6151 of the ESEA
(iv) Children or students in communities served by rural local educational agencies

Amount: A total of $4,500,000 is available to make 5-9 awards that range from $500,000-$800,000 and average $650,000 per year. The project period is up to 36 months.

Eligibility: State educational agencies (SEAs); state charter school boards; state Governors; charter school support organizations; authorized public chartering agencies; and public and private nonprofit organizations that operate, manage, or support charter schools.

Note: Public and private nonprofit organizations that operate, manage, or support charter schools must apply in partnership with one or more SEAs, State charter school boards, State Governors, charter school support organizations, or authorized public chartering agencies.

Link: https://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=305903

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