For Immediate Release
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

$7 million in Charter Schools Program grants available through new request for proposals

Grants part of $42 million federally funded effort to increase number of high-quality charter schools in Illinois and study their effects

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released the second request for proposals (RFP) for grants awarded through the federally funded Charter Schools Program (CSP). ISBE administers the $42 million Charter Schools Program for the purpose of expanding the number of high-quality and educationally diverse charter schools in Illinois and evaluating the effects of charter schools on student academic achievement, staff, and parents. Funds available in fiscal year 2017 total more than $7 million.

Design teams working with school districts to propose new charter schools and charter schools in their first two years of operation may apply through CSP for financial assistance. Applicants can seek funding for program design, community engagement, start-up costs, and curriculum materials. Find information about accessing the electronic RFP on the ISBE website at Proposals are due by 4 p.m., Monday, March 20.

Every single student deserves access to a quality education. Illinois supports creative thinking and the taking of responsible risks to meet the evolving needs of students and families,” said State Superintendent of Education Tony Smith, Ph.D. “I encourage all eligible charter school teams to apply for CSP grants to help expand educational opportunities for all students. I also encourage parents, educators, and administrators across the state to consider the availability of CSP funds in evaluating the potential of a new public charter school in your communities.”

The RFP requires applicants to submit detailed plans for involving families and community members in the design of the school, attracting underserved students and addressing their needs, recruiting and retaining diverse and high-quality staff, overcoming barriers to equitably serving students with special needs, aligning curriculum with the Illinois Learning Standards, and implementing rigorous accountability mechanisms.

ISBE awarded the first CSP grants in fall 2016 to ASPIRA Business and Finance, LEARN Charter Network (for two schools), and Frazier Preparatory Academy, based on a thorough application process and three external reviews.