U.S. Department of Education invites applications for Charter School grants

In yesterday’s Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Education announced  that it was seeking applications for grants to support charter school access to capital. 

The program provides grants to enhance charter school access to private-sector credit for facilities projects (acquisition, construction, and renovation). Competitive preference will be given to applications that (1) target services to areas where a large proportion of public schools have been identified for school improvement; (2) target services to geographic areas where a large proportion of student perform below proficient on state assessments; and (3) target services to areas with a large proportion of low-income families. The details are contained in the announcement. 

The Department appears to be targeting state and regional agencies as well as consortia of charter schools or educational management organizations, but there is no bar to individual charter school applications. 

The demise of a charter school, burden of proof, and a quorum

Welcome again Mark Fitzgerald as guest blogger.  This time, he writes about the process of revoking a charter school's charter.  In the case involved the charter school could not overcome declining student performance on the state's accepted measure of annual yearly progress.  The case also presents discussion about the burden of proof (placed on the charter school) and, for anyone running a meeting, a ruling about what constitutes a common law quorum.  Mark is a member of the Education Law Group with a practice emphasis in Labor and Employment. Click here to find out more about Mark’s background and contact information.  Kudos!

The tumultuous five years of the Ronald H. Brown Charter School appears to be over. Earlier this Summer, the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court in Ronald H. Brown Charter School v. Harrisburg City School District, upheld an order of the State Charter School Appeals Board which had earlier determined evidence was sufficient to support the local school board’s non-renewal of the charter. The Charter School had failed to meet statutory requirements as it related to accepted standards of fiscal management or audit requirements, as well as failed to demonstrate improvement in student academic performance.

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