State Superintendent of Education Molly M. Spearman announced that South Carolina will receive a new grant award of more than $30 million over the course of the next five years from the U.S. Department of Education’s Charter School Program.
The funding will help to expand the existing public charter schools and open up new ones.
The South Carolina Department of Education is using the grant funding to help create more high-quality public charter schools by assessing and improving the quality in new and existing ones.
They will also be a focus on increasing awareness and use of public charter schools, improving the standards and effectiveness of authorizers and public charter school boards as well as evaluating the effects of public charter schools on student achievement and growth to include the educationally disadvantaged, staff and parents according to Dino Teppara.
Since 2012, public charter schools in South Carolina have increased over 78% with student enrollment increasing more than 105%. More than 30,000 students are enrolled in public charter schools across the state.
“This is great news for our state,” said Spearman. “Providing public school options based on the needs of individual students and families is important to ensure that every child meets the Profile of the South Carolina Graduate. I am very excited that we were one of just eight states to secure this funding and that our grant application received the highest score. I want to thank the staff members at the Department and the people out in the field who assisted them in putting this high-quality application together,” concluded Spearman.
“As the highest-scoring applicant in the grant evaluation process—a very difficult and rigorous undertaking—South Carolina is sending a clear message that it’s a great place for high-quality public charter schools to expand their impact on students’ lives,” said Elliot Smalley, Superintendent of the South Carolina Public Charter School District. “Kudos to Superintendent Spearman and our colleagues at the South Carolina Department of Education—we have strong leadership in place, we have new grant funds, and now we get to put it all together to make sure more of our students have access to a great education,” concluded Smalley.
“With Superintendent Spearman’s leadership, the South Carolina Department of Education’s public charter school team has developed a plan for high quality, new public charter school development for the next five years,” said Mary Carmichael, Executive Director of the Public Charter School Alliance of South Carolina. “This grant has the potential to positively impact the lives of thousands of children across the state. It has focused priority on districts where students have the most to gain. It is exciting for South Carolina to be recognized for the advances we have made,” concluded Carmichael.
The grants awarded this year total a whopping $125 million nationwide, South Carolina is expected to receive $15 million in initial funding and up to $30.4 million over the next five years.
42 states were eligible to apply for funding, 27 applied and eight winners were selected.