NACSA Fall 2018 Federal Update

NACSA continues to work hard on issues that impact authorizers and charter schools, at the local, state, and federal levels. Below are updates on the federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) and school safety:

Federal Charter School Program Update

Charter School Program Gets $40M Increase for FY19

The federal appropriations packaged signed by President Trump on September 28 includes a $40 million increase for the federal Charter Schools Program, for a total funding level of $440 million. This program includes six grant programs that support the growth of high-quality charter schools, many of which help strengthen charter school authorizing. Growing the Charter School Program is a priority for NACSA, and we greatly appreciate Congress’s support for the program in the final bipartisan appropriations package.

Eight States Receive Awards through the CSP State Entity Grants

On October 3, the US Department of Education announced awards to projects in eight states through the State Entity Grant Program (formerly known as SEA program). Awards include:

  • Arkansas Public School Resource Center
  • Arizona Department of Education
  • Bluum Inc (Idaho)
  • Colorado Department of Education
  • Delaware Department of Education
  • Michigan Department of Education
  • New York State Department of Education
  • North Carolina Department of Public Instruction

These awards support important state-led initiatives to improve authorizer quality. Is your state getting an award? Does it have an award already? Or is it planning to apply for a grant soon? Read this for tips on how to make sure your state is using these federal funds to do something meaningful to improve authorizer quality.

NACSA receives $2.4M National Dissemination Activities grant from the US Department of Education (Formerly National Leadership Activities)

NACSA’s project, “Strengthening Charter Authorizing Nationally,” partners with the National Association of State Boards of Education, Chiefs for Change, and the Charter School Growth Fund to develop, identify, and expand best practices in four areas: Promoting and monitoring the compliance of charter schools; facilitating replication and expansion of high-quality charter schools; closing persistently underperforming charter schools; and building capacity of authorizers with the more need.

Three other grantees will focus on charter school authorizing:

  • The Colorado Charter School Institute: The Tri-State Alliance for Improving District-Led Charter Authorizing
  • The California Charter Schools Association: Addressing Both Side of Charter Quality: Improving Authorizing Practice + Growing Quality Charter Organizations through the Dissemination of Frameworks & Supports
  • The Institute for Excellence in Education: Advancing Great Authorizing & Modeling Excellence—the “A Game”

CMO Competition: Comment Letter on RFP Notice

This August, NACSA submitted comments on the proposed priorities, application requirements, and selection criteria for the Charter Schools Program Grants for Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools (often referred to as the CMO program). We applaud the Department for recognizing the important role that authorizers play in evaluating school quality and recommended additional modifications to the priorities, application requirements, and selection criteria to improve the application process.

NACSA in Action: Comments to Federal Commission on School Safety

This September, NACSA submitted information to the Federal Commission on School Safety with ideas for how the Commission can help authorizers play a meaningful, appropriate role in ensuing charter schools maintain safe learning environments for all students and school personnel.  NACSA is committed to addressing this issue and discussed what the authorizing community is experiencing as part of this year’s NACSA Leadership Conference.