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PRESS RELEASE

October 1, 2002

Contact: Bill Edmonds
Florida Board of Education
(850) 201-7130

Florida awarded $76.5 million grant to support charter schools

TALLAHASSEE — Education Secretary Jim Horne announced today that Florida's Department of Education has been awarded a three-year, $76.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support charter schools.

The grant comes as recognition of Florida's success in establishing a charter school program.

"This is great news for students and educators in Florida," said Education Secretary Jim Horne. "We are thrilled that the U.S. Department of Education appreciates our efforts to support charter schools, and we will continue to provide the necessary resources and leadership as we expand and enhance Florida's charter school movement."

The grant will fund at least 127 first- or second-year charter schools each year over the next three years through a competitive application process. The Public Charter Schools Grant Program will greatly increase the success of charter schools and improve the effectiveness of charter school models for other public schools.

Under the stipulations of the grant, Florida will receive $25.5 million each year for the next three years. The state will distribute resources through sub-grants to address four major issues, including:

  • Leasing or renovating suitable facilities.
  • Investing in other major program start-up costs.
  • Hiring or retaining adequate professional expertise in the areas of school administration, business and legal skills, and financial management.
  • Developing thorough assessment and evaluation programs in order to substantiate charter school performance.

Florida is one of only a handful of states to earn this competitive grant funding, based primarily on the positive growth and expansion of charter schools during the last six years. There are currently 223 charter schools in operation in the state. This is the fourth such awarding of funds from the federal government and is the largest to date.

"We are moving in the right direction by continuing to push for greater local control in education, while encouraging more accountability and parental involvement through the creation of new charter schools," said Horne.

According to Florida's grant application to the U.S. Department of Education, Florida has identified six primary objectives for the Charter School Grant Program. These include:

  • Increasing parental choice in school selection.
  • Promoting deregulation and local control of public education.
  • Increasing participation of at-risk students.
  • Demonstrating greater accountability in all public schools. Improving statewide evaluation of charter school performance. Assisting policy makers in decision-making.

Please visit www.floridaschoolchoice.org for more information about charter schools in Florida.