Although charter schools continue to receive inequitable per-pupil funding and facilities support from state and local sources, federal and private funding for charter schools continues to grow.
Nonprofit organizations have stepped in to offer grants, loans and credit enhancements for charter schools that would otherwise face high interest rates or an inability to obtain financing on account of the risk they pose to lenders. National foundations have also undertaken charter funding initiatives, and new non-profit and for-profit enterprises have emerged, which focus solely on charter school facilities and facilities financing. 1
In December 2012, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded $25 million in grants to Boston, Denver, Hartford, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia and Spring Branch, Texas. These grants support a variety of projects—such as the development of student literacy programs in New York, or teacher mentoring programs in Denver—between local charter schools and traditional public schools.2 Non-profit The Character Education Partnership, meanwhile, annually awards schools across the nation the designation as a National School of Character. This recognition is given to schools that show their character-centered approach has impacted academic achievement, school environment and behavior.3 In 2012 Mountainville Academy, a Utah Charter School in Alpine, Utah was one of twenty-four schools named a National School of Character.4
Three public charter school networks were nationally recognized in 2012 by being awarded the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top District Grants. Districts, or school networks in the case of charter schools, are awarded grants to support locally developed plans to personalize and deepen student learning, directly improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare students to succeed in college and their careers.5 The Harmony Public Schools, IDEA public schools, and KIPP DC schools were awarded grants in the amount of $30 million, $29.2 million, and $10 million respectively.6
1 J. Ableidinger et al. Fulfilling the Compact: Building a Breakthrough, Results-Driven Public Charter School Sector, (Washington: National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, 2012).