Georgia wins federal dollars for charter schools

Georgia will get $24.4 million to expand charter schools as one of eight states to win money in the latest round of the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter Schools Program.

The Georgia Department of Education applied for the grant noting that voters could pass a referendum in November creating a statewide Opportunity School District that could establish more charter schools. But a spokeswoman for the state education agency said officials will consider all existing and potential charter schools that apply, not just those in the proposed statewide district.

The federal charter program has spent over $3 billion since its inception in 1995, and in the latest round is distributing $177 million to eight states plus $68 million to 15 non-profit charter management organizations, none of them in Georgia. The money is intended to help create and expand charter schools, which are public schools that operate independently but with public funding and accountability.

The federal education agency also is recommending additional funding for all recipients that is contingent on future Congressional appropriations. Georgia would get an additional $22 million, for a total of $46.4 million.

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