Illinois Gets Federal Choice/Charter Grant From ED

According to the Feds, IL is one of 10 states that have just gotten a piece of $284 million in federal choice and charter grants.  Illinois' share is just under $10 million.

U.S. Department of Education
Office of Communications & Outreach, Press Office
400 Maryland Ave., S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20202

FOR RELEASE:  June 5, 2007

Contact:  David Thomas(202) 401-1579
          david.thomas@ed.gov

                            TEN STATES AWARDED GRANTS TO HELP EXPAND SCHOOL CHOICE
   States to use $284 million in charter school funds to help close achievement gap and increase parental options

       U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced today
that ten states have been awarded a total of $284 million to help
create new charter schools and increase the school choices that parents
have to provide to their children.

        "As I've traveled
around the country, I've had a chance to visit many charter schools.
These schools are breaking apart the myth that some children can't
learn," Spellings said.  "By acting as laboratories for best practices,
they are changing attitudes about education and they're getting great
results for kids."

        The competitive three-year grants are
from the Public Charter Schools Program, which supports states' efforts
to plan, design, implement, and disseminate information about charter
schools.

         The following states will receive grants over the next three years totaling:

Michigan - $21,673,806
California - $101,681,016
Massachusetts - $9,000,000
Ohio - $48,817,5000
Georgia - $17,010,000
Indiana - $11,925,284
Colorado - $20,887,813
Illinois - $9,917,503
Texas - $24,625,262
Maryland - $18,162,528

       State educational agencies with a specific statute authorizing
charter schools may apply for funding. States must have a charter
school law in place to participate.  They then make competitive
subgrants to developers of charter schools who have applied for a
charter.  In awarding grants, the Department must give preference to
states that provide chartering agencies that are not a local education
agency, such as a state chartering board, that have demonstrated
progress in increasing the number of high-quality charter schools that
are held accountable for reaching clear and measurable objectives, and
that give public charter schools a high degree of autonomy over their
budgets and expenditures.

       Charter schools are independent public schools designed and
operated by parents, educators, community leaders, education
entrepreneurs and others with a contract, or charter, from a public
agency, such as a local or state education agency or an institution of
higher education.  Charter schools are operated free-of-charge to
parents and are open to all students.  These schools provide parents
enhanced educational choices within the public school system.  Exempt
from many statutory and regulatory requirements, charter schools
receive increased flexibility in exchange for increased accountability
for improving academic achievement.  The first U.S. public charter
school opened in 1992.  Today, nearly 4,000 charter schools serve more
than one million students in 40 states and Washington, D.C.

        More information about the Public Charter Schools Program is available at <http://www.ed.gov/programs/charter/index.html>.

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