More On Schools: Your Questions Answered (Part III)

18 Jun 2010 | Jennifer Kennedy, Consultant

This fourth question, specifically on charter schools in the application process,will be my last post for the week on education. Again, please feel free to comment or ask additional clarifying questions using the comment function below. You can also continue to send your questions to promiseneighborhoods@policylink.org.

In addition, please see my June 11th blog post for Question #1 and also some basic information as written by the Department of Education in the NIA to clarify some further details, and my second blog post on June 16th for Questions #2 and #3. For a broader context on Race to the Top and other federal education policy element, please check out the Promise Neighborhoods Institute website’s Education Primer.

Question #3: If an applicant is proposing the creation of a new charter school, must they also partner with a public school in the geographical area?

Thank you for your inquiry.  On page 24674 of the Federal Register notice (Vol. 75, No. 86, Wed, May 5, 2010), mid-way down in the middle column, it states:

“In cases where an eligible applicant operates a school or partners with a school that does not serve all students in the neighborhood, the applicant must partner with at least one additional school or schools that serves students in the neighborhood. In cases where an eligible applicant is a nonprofit organization that manages, operates, or partners with a private school in the neighborhood, and the school does not serve all students in the neighborhood, the applicant must also partner with at least one additional public school or schools that serve students in the neighborhood.

On that same page, in column 1, the paragraph in small print titled “Note regarding school reform strategies,” it also says that if “an LEA has implemented rigorous reform strategies prior to the publication of this notice, an applicant is not required to propose a new reform strategy in place of an existing reform strategy in order to be eligible for a PN planning grant.”  Two of the four federal school intervention models, Restart and Closure, involve charter schools as a possible part of the solution.  If the charter school you have selected for your project was established as or is part of such a school reform effort in your local school district , then you could state that as part of your justification for deciding to focus on this school.  However, I believe you would still have to show that you have strategies to a) serve kids of all ages in your neighborhood, as they are not all going to be served by this one school; and 2) show that you are also working in some capacity with at least one of the public schools in the neighborhood.