Indiana

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Betsy DeVos Awards Indiana $60M To Expand Charter Schools

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and husband Dick eat at the Eastern Hancock High School cafeteria for the annual FFA hog roast fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 during the last stop on the “Rethink School” tour. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and husband Dick eat at the Eastern Hancock High School cafeteria for the annual FFA hog roast fundraiser on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017 during the last stop on the “Rethink School” tour. (Eric Weddle/WFYI News)

Indiana will receive $59.9 million in federal funds to expand charter schools over the next five years.

Federal Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced the award Thursday as part of a total package of approximately $514.9 million in recommended grants for eight other states, charter management organizations, non-profit organizations and state agencies.

In a statement, DeVos says the funding supplements state-based efforts to give students access to more education options.

“Charter schools are now part of the fabric of American education, and I look forward to seeing how we can continue to work with states to help ensure more students can learn in an environment that works for them,” DeVos says.

Indiana will receive $24 million this year out of the approximately $253 million in total awards across the country. The remaining funds are contingent on future Congressional appropriations.

“Indiana is committed to ensuring our students receive a quality education,” says Jennifer McCormick, Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction. “This federal grant specifically targets the implementation, administration, research and evaluation of charter schools.”

McCormick says the money will go to a minimum of 50 schools.

Charter schools, just like traditional public schools, receive state funding through a per-pupil allocation. But in Indiana charter schools do not receive local tax dollars for transportation and facilities.

McCormick recently called for increased accountability of charter schools. She says all schools receiving tax dollars should face the same academic and financial scrutiny as traditional public schools.

Her agency collaborated with the Indianapolis-based school reform organization The Mind Trust to write the grant proposal.

The dollars come from the U.S. Department of Education’s Expanding Opportunity Through Quality Charter School Program grant.

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