School Funding

Charter coalition sues Biden administration over rule changes

A coalition of charter schools in Michigan and Ohio is suing the Biden administration over new rules governing charter start-up grants for schools across the country.

“This attack on charter schools is not only deeply unfair to children who would benefit from educational alternatives, it is illegal,” said Pacific Legal Foundation lawyer Caleb Kruckenberg, whose organization announced on Monday that it represented the coalition “for free”.

The Association of Michigan Public School Academies and the Thomas B. Fordham Institutean Ohio-based charter school licensing body and a conservative think tank, are named plaintiffs in the case court casewhich takes aim at changes made by the US Department of Education to the way chartered startups apply for the federal government Charter School Program grants to help schools launch and grow enrollment.

The impacts of charters on school districts have been a longstanding concern in Idaho. State funding for K-12 has been tied to average daily student attendance for years, but the state has shifted to enrollment-based funding since the pandemic. As charter enrollment increases in the Gem State, so does their share of state funding.

Earlier this year, charter advocates across the state joined a nationwide call to drop originally proposed changes to the grantmaking process, which ranged from creating a federal definition of “community impact” to protect the financial interests of school districts to require states to prioritize grants for applicants who partner with districts.

Charter advocates in Idaho last month offered mixed reviews of several revisions to the proposal in the wake of the blowback.

The new round of changes are “manageable, but still frustrating and bureaucratic,” said Terry Ryan, CEO of the Idaho Charter Support Group. Blue.

The lawsuit announced Monday targets changes that are stalled, including one that shortens the window for submitting grant applications this year to 30 days. Go here to see the other changes.

“Congress has given clear instructions and criteria for the distribution of these funds; however, the DOE has issued a new rule that makes it much more difficult to obtain these grants,” the Pacific Legal Foundation said Monday.

CSP grants have had a big impact on Idaho’s K-12 landscape over the years. The money — just over $17.5 million scattered across the state since Bluum began administering the grants in 2019 — has helped launch or expand 22 Idaho charters, according to the Bluum count. The program has disbursed billions nationwide since its inception nearly 30 years ago.

Disclosure: Bluum and Idaho Education News are both funded by grants from JA and the Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation.

About Devin Bodkin

EdNews associate editor and reporter Devin Bodkin is a former high school English teacher who specializes in stories about charter schools and the education of students living in poverty. He lives and works in eastern Idaho. Follow Devin on Twitter @dsbodkin. He can be contacted by email at [email protected].

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