Charter schools often spend more money per student than they receive from the government. The ways that charter school money distribution is calculated can differ dramatically from state to state––and sometimes from community to community within the same state (To see how charter schools are funded in your state, take a look at this 43-state comparison).
Few states provide funding to cover facilities costs and maintenance. Some states do provide capital funding to start-up schools, and conversion schools already have established facilities, but the majority of charter schools must rely on independent means to cover operational costs.
While recent federal legislation provides some funding to help charter schools with start-up costs, the task continues to be monumental. Thus, securing additional charter school money is necessary. Below we outline a variety of resources to help you and your school continue operating at optimal levels to provide the best education possible to your deserving students. At Charter Asset Management, we are passionate about supporting charter schools and ensuring their success so we hope this guide will be very useful to you.
Grants for securing charter school money fall into three categories: state grants, federal grants, and private foundations. Below is a comprehensive list of federal and private foundation grants, as well as some resources for the myriad of state grants available.
Federal Education & Development Grant Funds
Community Facilities Direct Loan & Grant Program The purpose of this grant is to provide affordable funding to develop essential community facilities in rural areas. These are considered to be populations of no more than 20,000, with priority given to communities of 5,500 or less.
Charter School Program (CSP) State Education Agency (SEA) Competition This grant is for State Education Agencies (or SEAs) in states with specific statutes authorizing the SEAs to establish charter schools. The SEAs then make subgrants to eligible applicants.
Charter Schools Program Non-State Educational Agencies (Non-SEA) Planning, Program Design and Initial Implementation Grant Competition The purpose of this grant is to expand opportunities for students, particularly traditionally underserved students, to attend high-quality charter schools and to provide money to charter schools for the initial planning, design, and implementation of new schools.
Replication and Expansion of High-Quality Charter Schools Competition With this grant, the Department of Education offers financial assistant to CMOs in order to allow them to replicate or expand high-quality charter schools. Grants can be used to expand enrollment in an existing high-quality school, or establish a new school based on an existing high-quality charter school model.
National Leadership Activities Grant Competition This grant, for SEAs, public and private organizations whose mission is to operate, support, or manage charter schools, or public and private organizations in partnership with an SEA, authorized public chartering agency, or public or private nonprofit organization whose mission is to support charter schools, is offered to improve the quality of charter schools by offering technical assistance and other types of support.
Credit Enhancement For Charter School Facilities Program Competition The purpose of this grant is to increase the availability of loans and bond financing for charter schools.
State Charter School Facilities Incentive Grant The funds from this grant are intended to match programs funded with non-federal money that make per-pupil payments to schools for improvements or expansion of facilities.
Educational Technology, Media, and Materials for Individuals with Disabilities Grant This grant aims to (a) improve results for students with disabilities by promoting the use of technology; (b) provide support for captioning and video description for use in the classroom; (c) support activities designed to be of value for students with disabilities; and (d) improve access of educational materials to students with disabilities.
Interdisciplinary Preparation in Special Education, Early Intervention, and Related Services for Personnel Serving Children with Disabilities who have High-Intensity Needs This grant offers up to $250,000 in charter school money to ensure that those personnel working with special needs children have the skills and knowledge necessary to be successful.
Private Foundation Grants
Walton Family Foundation Public Charter Startup Grant This foundation focuses on supporting high-quality and high-potential schools serving low-income children and has invested more than $407 million to date.
The Louis Calder Foundation Charter & Parochial Schools Grant There grants are for the expansion of existing high-performing CMOs or the establishment of new, stand-alone charter schools.
The Braitmayer Foundation Grant This foundation supports the implementation of innovative programs to enhance the quality of pre-collegiate education.
As there are over 100 state grants available to charter schools, it is a bit beyond the scope of this article to list all of them. Below are just a few examples to get you started:
- California Charter Schools Association Grants grant information page
- Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina grant information page
- State Charter Schools Commission of Georgia Grant Opportunities and Resources for State Charters
Fundraising should be a part of any charter school’s financial planning. As most school administrators and leaders are not fundraising experts, CAM has created a comprehensive guide to fundraising that you may want to print out and keep on hand for your development committee.
Take a look at our “Step-by-Step Guide to Successful Charter School Fundraising” for more information on how to use fundraising to secure money for your charter school.
Contact Charter Asset Management
Applying for grants and aggressively fundraising are not the only sources of money for charter schools; there are many private organizations who specialize in sustainable charter school financing.
When you need immediate access to capital, you can count on CAM. We are an experienced charter school financing company that provides flexible funding options to match your school’s specific needs. For existing clients, you can typically get funding in as little as twenty-four hours. Take a look at our various funding programs to see which one is right for you.
At CAM, we have over 15 years’ experience assisting charter schools dealing with budget shortfalls or delays in other sources of funding. Contact us today to see how our short-term financing can help your school.