Charter schools currently serve roughly three million students across the nation, and data suggests that the enrollment number would nearly double without location and capacity concerns. Often the biggest hurdle that prevents charter school operators from expanding or creating new schools is access to adequate facilities. Some state-level advocates have been successful in passing legislation aimed at assisting with this problem (Network members can find further details in the MAP), and philanthropists have also tried to fill the gap. While helpful, these results are far from a comprehensive solution.
Recently, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NAPCS) held a one-day convening for charter school facilities experts, finance experts, nonprofit lenders, and practitioners to discuss the various avenues for addressing the facilities issue at the federal level. The result was a nearly twenty-page report, Strengthening Federal Investment in Charter School Facilities, that outlined for federal lawmakers a number of current programs they could expand or new programs they could enact that would help equalize facilities access.
Through a comprehensive approach of grants, loans, and credits, the federal government could increase the amount of federal money charter school operators would have access to, while also incentivizing more state-level investments.
Last month, NAPCS joined with ExcelinEd and Democrats for Education Reform (DFER) to host a Hill Briefing on the growing demand for charter facilities. Through this work, and the accompanying efforts of state-level advocates, more students will have access to high-quality charters.
Interested in learning more about charter school facilities issues, or want to connect with advocates working to enact changes? Reach out.