Haslam proposes funding for charter schools

Haslam proposes funding for charter schools
Haslam proposes funding for charter schools | Gov. Bill Haslam

STATE OF THE STATE – Gov. Bill Haslam touted education reform during his State of the State Address to the General Assembly and Tennesseans Monday evening. On the heels of his speech, Haslam announced $40 million in support of charter schools. For excer

STATE OF THE STATE – Gov. Bill Haslam touted education reform during his State of the State Address to the General Assembly and Tennesseans Monday evening. On the heels of his speech, Haslam announced $40 million in support of charter schools. For excerpts from his address, see Page 7. Photo courtesy of Bill Haslam’s office

Nashville – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and recently-named Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman today announced nearly $40 million to grow and support charter schools in Tennessee. 

The funds are part of a broad public-private partnership to increase the number of high performing charter schools in the state and include:

• $14 million through First to the Top funding, 

• $5.8 million through the federal Investing in Innovation program, and 

• $20 million in private funds raised through a new public-private partnership announced today. 

The unprecedented public-private partnership creates a $30 million charter growth fund built though a $10 million grant in First to the Top funding and $20 million in private funds raised in partnership with the Charter School Growth Fund and the Center for Charter School Excellence in Tennessee. 

“Creating an environment to grow and develop high-performing charter schools across the state is an important element to our overall education reform strategy,” Haslam said. “Charter schools offer new opportunities for learning, and if our goal is the best possible education for every student in Tennessee, more students should have the option of a charter school as a learning environment. “Strong partnerships between education, business and philanthropic communities and allowing more charter schools to open will spur innovation and more educational opportunities,” Haslam added. The funds will provide for the launch of 40 new startup charter schools and the growth of 4 to 6 charter school management organizations. “This will help us make sure that across the state in all different kinds of communities we can have examples of these exceptional schools that demonstrate to everyone what is possible with regard to a child’s educational opportunities,” Huffman said. The funds will apparently allow Tennessee to build one of the first state-wide platforms for the development in the country of charter schools from creation of high performing schools to large scale charter school networks. Tennessee’s First to the Top work with both partners will allow several new charter schools to open in the next three years within close proximity to schools currently eligible for state inclusion into the Achievement School District.

wcp 3/17/11

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