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Rep. Letlow (LA-05), Rep. Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Rep. John James (MI-10), and Rep. Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06) Introduce the Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act

Rep. Letlow (LA-05), Rep. Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Rep. John James (MI-10), and Rep. Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06) Introduce the Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act

November 17, 2023

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Letlow (LA-05), Congresswoman Jill Tokuda (HI-02), Congressman John James (MI-10), and Congressman Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06) introduced the Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act. This bipartisan legislation authorizes State Entities who receive grants through the Charter Schools Program (CSP) to use a portion of their funding to support the application process and development of new charter schools.Currently, the CSP does not allow funding to be used for the planning phase of charter schools. If passed, this bill will allow for up to 5% of CSP grants to go towards the pre-planning that is required to apply for a new charter school. The applications are long and tedious, so the funding will be used to ensure high-quality prospective charter school applicants have the tools and assistance they need to successfully complete the process. Additionally, the bill allows State Entities to use a percentage of grant funds towards technical assistance and quality improvements for charter schools.“Charter Schools provide children with excellent opportunities in education,” said Rep. Julia Letlow (LA-05), “I’m proud to introduce this critical legislation with my colleagues Congresswoman Jill Tokuda, Congressman John James, and Congressman Juan Ciscomani to support high-quality charter school developers so we can continue to expand learning opportunities for our students.”“All of our students deserve the best when it comes to their education, and who knows better than our teachers,” said Rep. Jill Tokuda (HI-02). “That’s why I’m proud to join Rep. Letlow in introducing the Empowering Educators to Lead Act, which would provide more equitable access to pre-planning resources for educators looking to start public charter schools. In Hawaiʻi, public charter schools provide our keiki with innovative, high quality educational opportunities in their community. This bill will provide the funding and support needed for the often burdensome and complex process of opening a public charter school.”“I believe every child should have the best possible shot at success through education. By slashing red tape and making it easier to start a charter school through legislation like the Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act, we can expand academic opportunity, put parents back in the driver’s seat and ensure students reach their full potential. I’m proud to stand with my colleague, Rep. Julia Letlow, to introduce this legislation.” said Rep. John James (MI-10). “Our education system cannot be one size fits all, and families should have all options available to them when finding an education that best fits their child. The Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act alleviates major burdens on high-quality charter school developers, which often serve as barriers for establishing charter schools in our communities. By cutting this red tape, we are making charter school education available to more families and new communities.” said Rep. Juan Ciscomani (AZ-06).“The Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act is a great step forward in attracting a diverse pool of educators and community leaders across the country to open high-quality public charter schools,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “This is a win for communities, families, and students. Local educators and leaders know best how to serve their students and this bill offers them the critical resources they need to put a plan to open a charter school. On behalf of the charter school community, we thank Representative Letlow for her leadership in introducing this bill and Representatives Tokuda, James, and Ciscomani for sponsoring the bill and their lifelong support for greater educational opportunities for all kids and families.”   Specifically, this bill would: 

  1. Authorize State Entities to make pre-planning awards of up to $100,000 to the prospective charter applicants.
  2. Allow State Entities to use up to 5% of their CSP grant funds for their pre-planning awards.
  3. Raise the cap on the percentage of State Entities grant funds that can be used for State technical assistance and quality improvement from 7% to 10%.
  4. Confirm that States’ technical assistance activities can include assistance to charter schools for locating and accessing a facility.

Importantly, the technical assistance can be used to help locate and access a facility for charter schools, which is a major barrier to starting a charter school.The full bill text can be found HERE.

The Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act is a companion bill originally led by Senator John Cornyn of Texas.

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For press inquiries, contact:Courtney WegelCommunications Director(202) 365-4721courtney.wegel@mail.house.gov

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