Charter School Program Grant
The Oklahoma Public School Resource Center (OPSRC) has received a USDE competitive grant to carry out the following objectives within Oklahoma:
- Increase the number of high-quality charter schools in the state with an emphasis on those serving educationally disadvantaged students
- Improve student outcomes in Oklahoma charter schools, especially for educationally disadvantaged students
- Disseminate best practices
In carrying out these objectives, the Oklahoma Charter Schools Program (CSP) provides subgrants to qualified charter school developers and operators for new charter schools' planning year and first year of implementation. Each year for the duration of the grant, the CSP will award up to 5 grants to schools selected through a competitive grant process.
Authorized by Title V, Part B of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) (P.L. 107-110), the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) provides funding to nonstate entities to expand the number of high-quality charter schools available to students across the nation. The program's goals are to provide financial assistance for planning and implementation of new charter school programs and to disseminate promising practices to evaluate the effects of charter schools. This includes their impacts on student academic achievement, teaching and learning, families and the community.
OPSRC will award subgrants for brick-and-mortar charter schools in the following two categories:
- Those seeking to expand/replicate existing high-quality charter schools
- Those seeking to create new charters based on models that have been proven to successfully increase student achievement, especially for educationally disadvantaged students
Awarded subgrants of $600,000 will be funded with $150,000 in the Planning Year (up to 16 months) and $450,000 in the Implementation Year.
Grant applicants must conform to the federal definition of a public charter school in the Elementary and Secondary Education Act [P.L. 114-95, section 4310(2)] to be eligible for grant funds under the CSP.
- in accordance with a specific State statute authorizing the granting of charters to schools, is exempt from significant State or local rules that inhibit the flexible operation and management of public schools, but not from any rules relating to the other requirements of this paragraph;
- is created by a developer as a public school, or is adapted by a developer from an existing public school, and is operated under public supervision and direction;
- operates in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives determined by the school’s developer and agreed to by the authorized public chartering agency;
- provides a program of elementary or secondary education, or both;
- is nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and is not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution;
- does not charge tuition;
- complies with the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq.), section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act (20 U.S.C. 1232g) (commonly referred to as the ‘‘Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974’’), and part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- is a school to which parents choose to send their children, and that:
- admits students on the basis of a lottery, consistent with section 4303(c)(3)(A), if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated; or
- in the case of a school that has an affiliated charter school (such as a school that is part of the same network of schools), automatically enrolls students who are enrolled in the immediate prior grade level of the affiliated charter school and, for any additional student openings or student openings created through regular attrition in student enrollment in the affiliated charter school and the enrolling school, admits students on the basis of a lottery as described in clause (i);
- agrees to comply with the same Federal and State audit requirements as do other elementary schools and secondary schools in the State, unless such State audit requirements are waived by the State;
- meets all applicable Federal, State, and local health and safety requirements;
- operates in accordance with State law;
- has a written performance contract with the authorized public chartering agency in the State that includes a description of how student performance will be measured in charter schools pursuant to State assessments that are required of other schools and pursuant to any other assessments mutually agreeable to the authorized public chartering agency and the charter school; and
- may serve students in early childhood education programs or postsecondary students.
To be eligible to apply, a public charter school must be governed by a non-profit board that is separate from the sponsoring board and may not be composed of voting members from the authorizing board of directors.
Virtual charter schools are not eligible to apply.
All applicants for the Charter School Program grant must have an executed charter with a sponsor and must be no more than 16 months from opening as of the due date of the subgrant.
Charter schools in operation, approved charter schools that are more than 16 months from opening and developers that have not yet been approved by a sponsor are not eligible to apply. Grant activities may not extend beyond the first year of operation.
Expanding or Replicating Schools
Those who wish to expand or replicate existing charter schools must meet the ESSA SEC. 4310 (7-9) definitions of expanding, replicating and high quality. Schools that do not meet this definition are not eligible for subgrant funding.
ESSA SEC. 4310
(7) EXPAND. —The term ‘‘expand’’, when used with respect to a high-quality charter school, means to significantly increase enrollment or add one or more grades to the high-quality charter school.
(8) HIGH-QUALITY CHARTER SCHOOL. —The term ‘‘high-quality charter school’’ means a charter school that—
- shows evidence of strong academic results, which may include strong student academic growth, as determined by a State;
- has no significant issues in the areas of student safety, financial and operational management, or statutory or regulatory compliance;
- has demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement, including graduation rates where applicable, for all students served by the charter school; and
- has demonstrated success in increasing student academic achievement, including graduation rates where applicable, for each of the subgroups of students, as defined in section 1111(c)(2), except that such demonstration is not required in a case in which the number of students in a group is insufficient to yield statistically reliable information or the results would reveal personally identifiable information about an individual student.
(9) REPLICATE. —The term ‘‘replicate’’, when used with respect to a high-quality charter school, means to open a new charter school, or a new campus of a high-quality charter school, based on the educational model of an existing high-quality charter school, under an existing charter or an additional charter, if permitted or required by State law.
Each application will consist of:
- A narrative (that details overall management and operations plans along with instructional strategies, curriculum, other resources and performance measures to be used)
- A sustainable budget plan
- Timelines for meeting realistic, attainable goals, which we will monitor throughout the planning and implementation years of each subgrant awarded
The application must have a solid foundation and infrastructure that will ensure the charter is prepared for success from the beginning. That is, school leaders and stakeholders must display active engagement from the outset, from the planning operations to governing board development. The applicants must demonstrate an emphasis on community support as required by the Oklahoma Charter Schools Act. A plan for financial sustainability is also crucial and must be at the core of the charter school’s application. Further, the management plan must reflect the autonomy afforded to the charter school and must demonstrate how the school will comply with all applicable regulations.
Competitive priority preference will be given to those applicants who seek to create a brick-and-mortar charter school for students who are educationally disadvantaged, including the following: 1) students with disabilities and English language learners, 2) underserved minority student subgroups (African American, Native American, Hispanic) and 3) students residing in poverty-stricken areas.
All applications must be uploaded through the Epicenter online system. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for access.
OPSRC will regularly post information about the grant, including budgets and applications, on this webpage.