MCPSA Advocacy on Federal Charter School Program Funds May Save State From Losing $4 Million

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Three Missouri Charter Schools Awarded Grant, State Eligible for Extension 

The Missouri Charter Public School Association (MCPSA) recently worked with the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to seek specific application clarifications, and request a second year no cost extension, to the United States Department of Education (USDOE) Charter Schools Program Grant.  The USDOE has indicated that this extension is possible and, with their approval, over $4 million dollars earmarked for Missouri’s charter school program will remain in the State.

“The Missouri Charter Public School Association spent significant amounts of time talking to both state and federal education departments and the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools to see how we could keep these dollars in Missouri to be spent on their intended purpose of bettering Missouri charter public schools,” stated MCPSA Executive Director Dr. Douglas Thaman. “Without all of us working together these funds would have been sent back to the US Department of Education and likely distributed to other states.”

The clarifications requested by MCPSA also helped three Missouri charter public schools receive federal Charter School Program (CSP) funds by the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) for the 2013- 2014 school year. Academy for Integrated Arts (Kansas City) and St. Louis Language Immersion Schools – The Chinese School and The International School were awarded $125,000 each for their CSP applications.

MCPSA worked with the recipients and other stakeholders to clarify that although under the same LEA, each St. Louis Language Immersion School could be considered separate entities for the grant application.  The SLLIS French School was a previous recipient of CSP funds.  According to grant guidelines a school may only be granted CSP funds once.  The Academy for Integrated Arts is a first time recipient of CSP funds.

“The St. Louis Language Immersion Chinese School grant will primarily support technology purchases for every classroom in The Chinese School grades K-3, as well as library media purchases and professional development in embedding technology instruction, information literacy instruction, and reading instruction,” stated Rhonda Broussard, Founder and President at St. Louis Language Immersion Schools.

The International School grant will primarily support technology purchases for every 6th grade class, initial library media installation and volumes, curriculum development, school culture practice, and professional development in the Middle Years Programme at the newly designated International Baccalaureate World School.

The grant for Academy for Integrated Arts will be used to establish the school’s library and classroom technology for the school’s 100+ students in grades kindergarten through third. A community partnership program will be created to identify mentors for its students and for business/community outreach. The school will also allocate funding for supplies, equipment and programs to assist in integrating the arts in core curriculum areas of study.

MCPSA also worked with DESE to clarify the ability to apply for a no- cost extension of the program. These applications for qualifying charter schools would be due in July 2014 if the program is extended and would be available for the 2015- 2016 school year.

“Diligence by DESE in support of Missouri’s charter public school sponsors and the charter public schools to ensure that those who could apply were able is really appreciated,” added Thaman.  “We look forward to working with applicant schools, DESE and the United States Department of Education on the next round of applications.”


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