TCSC a Partner with National Organizations to Support Charter School Facilities Center
The following statement is issued by Cameron Quick, Director of Operations, Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC), in response to the recent announcement of the Charter Schools Program National Activities Grant from the U.S. Department of Education:
"TCSC set out to make intentional headway on the charter facilities problem in the past few years, and in doing so, it has positioned Tennessee as an innovative leader when it comes to finding solutions. From offering technical assistance to helping schools save millions, we are seeing more dollars rightfully able to go towards students and classrooms instead of rent or maintenance issues," shared Cameron Quick, Director of Operations, Tennessee Charter School Center. "Establishing the Charter School Facilities Center (CSFC) is not just a first of its kind, but another significant win in the push for stronger facilities and a supplement to the previous strides that are already underway. We are excited to partner with the National Alliance and Local Initiatives Support Corporation to share Tennessee's best practices, resources, and key learnings with fellow charter support organizations nationally – and we look forward to bringing even more best practices back home as well."
The official press release from the National Alliance of Public Charter Schools is as follows:
WASHINGTON, D.C. – On Friday, September 28, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Innovation and Improvement awarded the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools a $2.4 million grant over three years to establish the Charter School Facilities Center (CSFC), the first-ever entity solely dedicated to helping public charter schools access better and more affordable facilities and facility financing.
There are an estimated 5 million additional students that would attend a charter school if they had access to one today, but current charter school supply can't keep pace with demand. One key reason is lack of access to facilities. While district schools have access to many options for financing, renovation, and construction of school buildings, charter schools cannot access those financing mechanisms to get the facilities they need to open, grow, and expand.
“At a time when demand for charter schools is increasing, lack of access to affordable, suitable facilities is our biggest challenge," said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. "Studies show that nearly one-in-five schools were forced to delay their opening by a year or more due to facilities related issues. The Charter School Facilities Center is a critical step to addressing this problem and ensuring all students have access to a high-quality public-school building.”
The CSFC will capture and share existing best practices for improving and funding facilities for charter schools and will develop new, innovative solutions to address this challenge. Among other activities, the CSFC will create a national advisory board of industry leaders to improve the collection of existing best practice resources and identify new ideas that merit wide dissemination. In addition, the CSFC will support discrete projects to address specific needs, such as acquiring affordable funding for rural facilities.
The National Alliance looks forward to tackling this work with our partners and leaders in the field including the Tennessee Charter School Center (TCSC) and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), a non-profit Community Development Financial Institution). TCSC will support local capacity building through technical assistance and LISC will build on their online research portal, SchoolBuild, which provides critical data on charter school facility transactions and guides schools through the facility development process from start to finish.
For more information on the challenges charter schools face on facilities access and financing, visit the National Alliance website.
About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org