California Department of Education Releases New Request for Applications for Charter School Start-Up Grants

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August 19, 2011 The California Department of Education (CDE) has posted the application and supporting material for the next round of funding for the federal Public Charter School Grant Program (PCSGP). The grant application materials and information are now available online.

The PCSGP provides start-up funding to develop and open high-quality charter schools, especially those charter schools that will provide a public school choice to those whose assigned traditional public school is chronically low performing. A nonprofit corporation or local educational agency with an approved charter petition, serving any grade level from K-12, is eligible to apply for start-up awards of up to $575,000. The new CDE application contains many changes and clarifications from the prior application. Therefore, applicants should review all materials carefully prior to completing an application. One significant change from the prior application is that CDE will no longer accept applications on a continuous filing basis. The online applications for this round of grants is due by October 31, 2011, for expected funding release in April of 2012. (The following round is expected to open in January 2012 for funding release expected in October 2012.)

As we recently reported, the CDE has been notified by the federal Department of Education that this year's PCSGP award will be approximately $20M less than previously anticipated. This means that while CDE will fund applications for schools that have already applied for the program, there will be less funding available than had been expected for new grant awards. As such, we expect that the selection process will be much more competitive than in the past and only the highest scoring applications will be funded. Therefore, we encourage schools to take extra time and care to ensure that all elements of the application are fully addressed and compliance with all grant elements are fully documented in their application.