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Feds Give $40M to Help High-Performing Charter Schools Expand

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The federal government is awarding nearly $40 million to charter schools in 12 states with the aim of helping high-performing charter schools expand. Among the awardees are several that belong to well-known charter networks, as well as four schools that are yet to open in Washington state, where a new charter law took effect in 2012. 

In total, 27 schools will receive money through the U.S. Department of Education's Charter Schools Program which is the only federal program devoted to specifically to funding charters. 

Among the recipients was First Place Scholars, Washington state's first and only charter school, which only opened this September. In fact, at five, Washington had the most grant recipients out of any state even though its charter law is among the youngest and most of its schools have yet to open. 

The rest of the awardees included several schools affiliated with large charter school networks such as the national network KIPP, California-based Green Dot, Texas-based Yes Prep, as well as New York-based Success Academy.

That last network on the list, Success Academy, received some other good news today when it was granted charters to open 14 new schools in New York City. Success Academy has been in a protracted battle with the city over its ambitious growth plans— a fight that has centered largely on providing facilities for the expanding network. 

The Charter Schools Program provides start-up and facility funds for charter schools, but according to a September report from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, a New York City-based organization that facilitates financial investment in distressed neighborhoods, annual funding from the federal program has declined or remained stagnant over the past 10 years.

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