About the Charter Schools Program Grant
On September 30, 2020, the New Jersey Public Charter School Association (NJPCSA) was awarded a $63.2 million Charter School Program (CSP) grant from the US Department of Education to catalyze the growth of high-quality public charter school options across the state. NJPCSA will act as a pass-through entity, using federal funds to administer a competitive subgrant program for which the operators of new, expanding, and replicating schools will be eligible.
The $63.2 million award contemplates the issuance of 6-10 subgrants annually during the five-year grant period. Slightly more than 90% of the overall grant award ($57 million) will be passed through in the form of subgrants, which eligible applicants can use to fund non-recurring start-up including:
- Preparing school teachers, school leaders, and specialized instructional support personnel;
- Acquiring supplies, training, equipment, and educational materials including technology purchases;
- Carrying out necessary renovations to ensure that a new school building complies with applicable statutes and regulations, and minor facilities repairs (excluding construction); and
- Carrying out community engagement activities
Based on the existing pipeline of high-quality, in-state charter schools that have already received authorization to expand, the project is targeting awarding subgrants to 38 schools. Additional operators that have expressed initial interest in adapting their proven models to meet the needs of New Jersey’s communities will be motivated by the availability of CSP start-up funding.
Table 2. Total Anticipated Number of Awards
|Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Total|
|# of Awards||10||6||6||8||8||38|
Each type of award, New Charter Schools, Replication of High Quality Charter Schools and Expansion of High Quality Charter Schools, has the ability to earn a full award of $1,500,000. Based on available pipeline data, we anticipate the subawards would follow the distribution below; however, the actual blend could vary based on be quality of applicants.
Table 3. Anticipated Breakdown of Awards
|Award Type||Year 1||Year 2||Year 3||Year 4||Year 5||Total|
The maximum subgrant award will be $1.5 million over a two-year period, of which $1.25 million will be allocated in Year 1. Grant applications will be scored by a Peer Review Committee composed of national experts in charter school operation and authorization. Harry Lee, who will serve as CSP Project Director, will empanel and work closely with the Peer Review Committee for formal selection of subgrant recipients.
The subgrant process will be competitive; only the applicants who receive the highest scores will receive funding. The base funding amount for each subgrant award will be $750,000, with applicants eligible to earn three $250,000 escalators based on their satisfaction of absolute and proportional enrollment targets that demonstrate an authentic commitment to educating at-risk students.
|1||Base Award||$750,000||Upon approval of application|
|2||School either (a) is located in a QOZ or (b) draws at least 40% of its student population from neighboring QOZ||$250,000||First verified enrollment count in Subgrant Year 1|
|3||At least 60% of School’s students are economically disadvantaged and at least 70% of a school’s students are Black or Hispanic||$250,000||First verified enrollment count in Subgrant Year 1|
|4||School educates at least 250 economically disadvantaged students in CSP-funded grades||$250,000||First verified enrollment count in Subgrant Year 2|
Applicant Evaluation Criteria
Applicants will be scored on their plans to enroll and educate at-risk students, their track record of improving student outcomes at existing campuses, their responsiveness to community need and parental demand, their subgrant budget, and their ability to promote key New Jersey CSP objectives including providing services in Qualified Opportunity Zones, promoting equity and inclusion, contributing to the diversity of charter school models across the state, and providing services to rural communities.
Technical assistance and program evaluation support will be provided by our partners at the Community Training and Assistance Center (CTAC) and the National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools.
CTAC will also be providing fiscal monitoring support to ensure that subgrantees are complying with all statutory, regulatory, and contractual requirements and are using CSP funds to meet the educational needs of their students. CTAC provides support in four domains: (1) technical assistance for subgrantees; (2) technical assistance for the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Charter and Renaissance Schools; (3) grant administration and fiscal monitoring; and (4) project evaluation.
The National Center for Special Education in Charter Schools NCSESC specifically supports NJPCSA by providing a range of technical assistance offerings to operators on topics including family outreach, inclusive and affirming program design, and effective use of data. Additionally, technical assistance is provided to NJDOE in its capacity as authorizer on best practices in how to create incentive and accountability structures that ensure charters provide excellent educations to at-risk students. They will conduct an initial landscape analysis, develop and conduct an annual survey of charter schools related to educating students with disabilities, and document and disseminate emerging promising practices determined to foster access and consistently improve outcomes for students with disabilities enrolled in charter schools across New Jersey.
Applications are not being accepted at this time. The application round will open in February 2021.