Part V of the No Child Left Behind Act contains a section designed to assist new charter schools with the unique costs associated with marketing their school, training new staff members, outfitting classrooms, creating a library or tech lab, and other "startup" expenses. This part of the law is called the "Charter School Program" (CSP).
Each state is allowed certain flexibility in administering the program. Colorado's startup grant application is competitive the first year and then the following two years (Implementation grants) are not competitive. Over the course of three years, a new charter school is likely to get more than a half a million dollars.
Charter school authorizers in Colorado do not provide any startup funding for new charter schools. However, fronting the costs for equipment, curriculum, and other necessities required the first day of school is nearly impossible without this federal grant program. Most charter schools are funded monthly by their authorizer, within a few days of the district getting funded by the state. Cash flow the first year is almost always very tight.
Startup grant applications are due next week. This year, for the first time, CDE will be awarding an additional ten points to the score of high school grant applications. Additionally, extra training and resources are available to subgrantee charter schools with more than 50% of their students qualifying for Free or Reduced Lunch. Training includes CSAP 101, curriculum alignment, data driven decision-making, leadership and board training. Through previous work, these five training subjects were determined to target the most predominant needs of new charter schools.
There should be approximately twelve startup grant applications submitted next week. More new charter schools will be able to apply in late February of next year.