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For More Information Contact the Public Information Office:
    Jon Zlock
    Kathryn Forsyth, Director

For Release: July 25, 2006

Davy Announces New Aid for Charter Schools

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded New Jersey a $10.1 million, three-year grant to help improve programs and instruction at new and existing charter schools, acting Commissioner of Education Lucille E. Davy announced today.

New Jersey is one of only nine states to receive funding under this federal grant program.  The money will be used for three purposes: to cover initial start-up costs for charter schools; to provide competitive grants for existing charter schools to develop best practices and share them with other charter and public schools; and to assist potential charter schools with their initial applications.

The acting Commissioner also announced that the New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC) has received a separate $8.1 million from the USDE’s Credit Enhancement for Charter Schools Facilities Program.  NJCC, based in Trenton, is a non-profit organization that has helped finance four charter schools in the state since 2004.  The federal grant for NJCC will be used for the same purpose.

“We are committed to providing our state’s children with opportunities to learn and achieve in the 21st century workforce, and this is especially true for our charter school program,” acting Commissioner Davy said.  “It is important for us to focus on what works for kids and to give all charters the benefit of others’ skills and expertise.”

The six goals of the federal $10.1 million grant are: to improve student learning and achievement; to encourage the use of different and innovative learning methods; to establish new professional opportunities for teachers and school leaders; to increase the availability of choice to parents and students when selecting a learning environment; to make the school the unit for educational improvement; and to establish a new system of accountability.

The DOE will be providing technical assistance for both existing and potential charter schools by visiting sites and issuing regular reports on the charter schools. 

The department will additionally work closely with NJCC to help fund start-up schools that have the best opportunities to serve students.  This work includes hosting workshops for potential schools on financing construction and facilities costs.

The first U.S. public charter school opened in 1992.  Today, more than 3,600 charter schools serve more than a million students in 40 states and Washington, D.C.  Charter schools in the state serve approximately 15,000 students. 

For more information about charter school education in New Jersey, please contact the Department of Education Public Information Office at (609) 292-1126.  For more information about New Jersey Community Capital, please contact executive director David Scheck at (609) 989-7766, ext. 500.