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GaDOE receives $24.4 million to expand high-quality public charter schools

MEDIA CONTACT: Meghan Frick, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 416-2286, mfrick@doe.k12.ga.us

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September 30, 2016 – The Georgia Department of Education is one of eight state education agencies to receive a Charter Schools Program (CSP) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, federal education officials announced today. Georgia will receive $24,447,230 over the next three years to promote the growth of high-quality public charter schools. The U.S. Department of Education is recommending a total of $46,404,184 for Georgia, contingent on future Congressional appropriations.

The CSP grant will provide financial assistance for the planning, program design, and initial implementation of public charter schools. The funds will allow Georgia to expand the number of seats for students within existing high-performing schools, implement high-quality charter school authorizing and accountability, and advance the GaDOE’s work to close achievement gaps and focus on educationally disadvantaged populations.

“This grant will support Georgia’s strong commitment to improving student academic achievement and preparing all students to learn, live, and lead in the future,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said. “We’re dedicated to providing flexibility that expands opportunities for students, both through the expansion of high-performing public charter schools and through the extension of increased flexibility to traditional public schools.”

Specifically, the grant will help the Georgia Department of Education increase the number of high-quality public charter schools in Georgia, especially among underserved students in rural and urban settings; improve student outcomes for students attending charter schools, specifically for educationally disadvantaged students; and increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students attending high-quality charter schools. The funds will also allow the GaDOE to increase support for charter schools and their academic success in working with students of all backgrounds, including students with disabilities and students of all racial and economic backgrounds, and ensure compliance with all special education and civil rights laws.

The majority of the grant funds will be used to expand the number of high-quality public charter schools through sub-grants to new charter schools, successful charter schools (to disseminate best practices), and existing high-performing charter schools that will substantially expand to provide additional seats for educationally disadvantaged students.

The work made possible through the CSP grant will be enhanced by continued partnerships with the following organizations:

·        National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA): Working with the GaDOE to create an authorizer evaluation system

·        Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA): Working with the GaDOE to create data one-pagers on student discipline and school climate

·        Georgia Charter Schools Association (GCSA): Working with the GaDOE to support schools in the probation process, recruit leaders and board members in rural areas, and provide school-level support to strengthen existing charter schools

·        Regional Education Laboratory Southeast (REL-SE): Working with the GaDOE to create an online best practices portal that will be used to gather, post, and disseminate best practices throughout the Georgia charter school community and beyond, and increase communication between all charter school leaders and educators about those practices.

Additionally, an external evaluator will be used to monitor and evaluate the GaDOE’s performance and implementation of the CSP grant. Learn more about the CSP grant program here.

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