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2018 Charter School Program: State Entities Grant

Colorado receives $55 million charter school grant from the United States Department of Education

In October 2018, Colorado was selected as one of eight states to receive a $55 million Charter School Program – State Entities Grant from the United States Department of Education.  The grant will support start-up, expansion, and/or replication of approximately 45 high quality charter schools in Colorado over the next five years.


What:

  • Colorado was selected as one of eight states to receive the 2018 Charter School Program – State Entities Grant from the United States Department of Education.
  • This grant will support the start-up, expansion, and/or replication of approximately 45 high quality charter schools in Colorado over the next five years.
  • The grant will also support state activities to promote quality charter practices including training and development for charter school administrators, business managers, and school boards as well as training and supports for charter school authorizers.
  • The grant will also support state activities to facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and problem solving to better understand and address access and equity challenges in charter schools so that charter schools help close broader achievement gaps across the state. 

When:

Sub-grant Competitions

The grant will be administered over the next five years and the state will run sub-grant competitions each August for interested schools. The state anticipates funding applicants in the following way (note: projections are subject to change based on the number of high-scoring applications submitted each year):

August, 2019 application period – 11 projected awards

  • Projected new or replication school awards – 9
  • Projected expansion awards – 2
  • Estimated average award - $1,167,000

August, 2020 application period – 12 projected awards

  • Projected new or replication school awards – 9
  • Projected expansion awards – 3
  • Estimated average award - $1,172,833.33

August, 2021 application period – 13 projected awards

  • Projected new or replication school awards – 10
  • Projected expansion awards – 3
  • Estimated average award - $1,102,000

August, 2022 application period – 9 projected awards

  • Projected new or replication school awards – 6
  • Projected expansion awards – 3
  • Estimated average award - $935,333.33

Overall grant projection – 45 awards

  • Projected new or replication school awards – 34
  • Projected expansion awards – 11
  • Total funds available for grant awards - $49,655,000

Technical Assistance and School Quality activities

The grant provides a 7 percent set-aside to support state activities that promote quality charter practices including training and development activities. From these funds, the state will support the following primary activities over the next five years:

  • Charter School Administer Training - The Schools of Choice office will establish and oversee a Charter School Administrator Learning Community and Induction Program for interested charter schools leaders (required for grantees) to receive free coaching and professional development over the course of a school year.
  • Charter School Business Manager Training - Because financial oversight and operations can make or break a charter school, CDE will offer an annual financial seminar beginning in 2019 for charter schools across the state to learn from CDE employees, other finance professionals, and staff at authorizers and charter schools about sound financial practices and legal requirements. Those new to business operations will also have access to a network of colleagues and regional training opportunities throughout the year.

  • Charter School Board Training - High quality charter schools need high quality boards. Through this grant, the Schools of Choice office will support all charter school boards through the development of updated, improved, new, and freely-available online charter school board member training modules. The office will also provide the opportunity for interested and new subgrantees to receive differentiated and individualized board training based on 1-1 needs assessment reviews.
  • Charter School Authorizer Supports – The Schools of Choice office, in collaboration with the Charter School Institute and a statewide authorizer community of practice, will develop and offer targeted supports to school districts, district accountability committees, and district staff related to quality charter school authorizing practices.

Equity and Access Conversations

As part of technical assistance activities, the state will also serve as a convener to facilitate collaboration, knowledge sharing, and problem solving to better understand and address access and equity challenges in charter schools and to identify ways in which charter schools can help close broader achievement gaps across the state. 

  • The Schools of Choice office will use each convening to discuss a specific topic related to best practices in areas that will include (but need not be limited to) transportation, school governance, special education, serving English Language Learners,  recruitment and enrollment, and other means of increasing equity and access for all students in a system of choice.
  • In order to encourage broad stakeholder participation in these convenings, the Schools of Choice office will begin this year by organizing an advisory panel to develop an annual plan for the convenings. More information about participating in the panel will be released soon.

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