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President Biden’s FY2025 Budget Proposes Historic Cut to Federal Charter Schools Program

President Biden’s FY2025 Budget Proposes Historic Cut to Federal Charter Schools Program

March 11, 2024

Eric Paisner, Acting President and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, released the following statement regarding President Biden’s Proposed FY 2025 Budget:

“The President’s FY 2025 budget falls disappointingly short of prioritizing public charter schools and public educational options for the parents who are looking for something better. Demand for these unique public schools remains high, and a proposed cut of $40 million to the Charter Schools Program (CSP), the only source of federal funding for start-up, replication, and facilities, sends the wrong signal to millions of families. The Biden Administration should focus instead on reducing the burden of their CSP regulations and bureaucratic processes that slow down grantee spending. In addition, they should support Congressional efforts to increase flexibility for facilities funding under the Charter Schools Program and supporting educators, including educators of color, who are inspired to open new schools.


“While disappointed about the proposed funding cut to the Charter Schools Program, we were pleased to see the proposal in the president’s budget to increase Title I funding and IDEA funding by $200 million each. This will help millions of public school students from low-income families, including many who attend charter schools.


“Charter schools are free, public, and open to all. These unique public schools are a lifeline to students nationwide. To continue expanding public charter schools to serve more families, we rely on the Charter Schools Program, which is less than 1% of federal spending on K-12 education.


“All students and families deserve access to a high-quality public education. The nation’s 8,000 public charter schools are committed to ensuring that happens—providing a free, student-centered learning environment to more than 3.7 million students, the majority of whom are Black, Brown, and from low-income communities, and millions more families who are hoping to have the same opportunity.


“Charter schools are the only part of public education that is steadily growing. Over the last four school years (2019-20 to 2022-23), charter schools gained more than 300,000 new students, an increase of 9%. Meanwhile, district public schools lost 1.5 million students at the beginning of the pandemic and enrollment has not rebounded over the past three years, creating a net loss of 3.5%. Where there is space, families want seats in charter schools. And when a good public school option is not available, families are leaving public education altogether.


“The National Alliance and our partners are asking Congress for $500 million in FY 2025 to ensure charter schools can continue serving the communities that want and need them. Applying for a CSP grant is a time-intensive, hard-to-navigate process made even more burdensome by administrative hurdles and roadblocks that could be removed. There are two bills before Congress to increase the effectiveness and accessibility of the CSP:


  • The bipartisan Equitable Access to School Facilities Act (S. 1480) will ensure access to public property and provide federal grants to states for charter school facilities. The grants, available from the CSP, can be used by charter schools to acquire and renovate existing facilities, cover ongoing facilities costs, or create a reserve fund for future acquisition, renovation, or maintenance. Additional CSP funding will remove financial barriers to starting new schools and expanding existing high-performing schools. All public school students should have the right to learn in a safe, clean, and functional environment.
  • The Empower Charter School Educators to Lead Act (H.R. 6418 and S. 3072) would allow state grantees to allocate CSP grant funding for pre-planning grants for school leaders and educators looking to start high-quality public charter schools. The funds in this bill are intended to help equalize the opportunity for educators and school leaders who want to open a charter school but lack access to resources needed to navigate the complex process and planning costs required to submit a high-quality charter school application. This public support may be especially valuable to educators of color, from low-income backgrounds, or in rural areas who may have less access to philanthropic support.

“We will continue to work with Congress to do more to meet the needs of charter school students.”

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