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Tennessee charter schools to receive $5 million in support grants

Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Education announced $5 million in grants to be distributed across the state.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Charter schools across Tennessee will receive $5 million in grants, according to officials.

Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Education said that they will focus on supporting charter schools that show sustained and significant academic growth. The grants are funded by the Governor's Emergency Education Relief Fund.

Each school will be awarded money on a per-pupil basis, based on 2020 school enrollment data. A total of $2.5 million will be distributed based on how many students attend specific schools, officials said.

An additional $2.5 million will be given based on how well they show academic growth as measured by their performance on the 2019 Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System. The school's "growth multiplier" is calculated with five performance criteria:

  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for schoolwide literacy
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for schoolwide numeracy
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for English language learners student group
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for students with disabilities student group
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for economically disadvantaged student group

Officials said that this is the first grant program released in response to the COVID-19 pandemic specifically for charter schools. An additional round of grant funding to support expanding charter schools is expected in the next few months, according to a release from officials.

Governor Lee previously announced $61 million in CARES funding for K-12 schools, including $11 million in grants for local education agencies to support reopening efforts.

Another $50 million has been made available to support technology grants, which schools can use for Wi-Fi devices, laptops or any other devices need to help reopen schools.

More information about the grants to support charter schools can found at the Tennessee Department of Education's website.

“This grant will help to ensure Tennesseans continue to have access to high-quality school options by supporting schools that have demonstrated strong student growth," Lee said.