Dept. of Ed. sends $10.1M grant request to fiscal committee for NH charter school expansion

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!

Kreiva Academy in Manchester.

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Department of Education is asking the Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee to approve $10.1 million under a federal charter school replication grant awarded to the state last year. The funds represent the first round of a $46 million federal grant aimed at expanding New Hampshire’s successful public charter school system. Five public charter schools approved by the State Board of Education could be eligible for funds up to $1.5 million each, including two in Manchester:

  • Heartwood Public Charter School, K-8, Lancaster
  • Kreiva Academy Public Charter School, K-8, Manchester
  • Northeast Woodlands Public Charter School, K-8, Conway
  • Spark Charter Academy of Advanced Technologies, 9-12, Manchester
  • Windham Academy Public Charter School, K-8, Windham

Additionally, Gathering Waters Chartered Public School, K-12, in Keene, is seeking approval from the State Board of Education to enroll students in the Fall of 2021, and would be eligible to apply for $1.5 million in grant funds. North Country Charter Academy in Lancaster and Littleton and Academy of Science and Design in Nashua would seek replication grants of $1.2 million each. There are 20 other approved public charter schools eligible to apply for grants of up to $600,000 each. The Department estimates that existing public charter schools would be eligible for more funds than the first year of the grant provides, which would require a competitive process for selection.

“New Hampshire’s public charter schools have been tremendously successful in providing students new paths to bright futures,” said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “The charter school replication grant would give our state an unprecedented opportunity to invest in educational innovation, and provide new paths to more Granite State students. Our charter schools are eager and ready to go, if only the Fiscal Committee would give them the chance.” 

Charter schools receive all of their funding from a combination of state funding, grants and private donation.

Earlier this year, the Department of Education published a long-term comprehensive analysis of charter school expansion (attached) which projects that the grant could save New Hampshire taxpayers as much as $178 million over the next 10 years, while expanding educational options targeted to at-risk student populations. The request to the Fiscal Committee includes the enthusiastic support of public charter school leaders.

“This grant would help us purchase the supplies we need to fully operate a strong school program. We are up and running, and this grant would give us the ability to purchase desks for students, professional development for teachers, outdoor classrooms, and a package that would support everything we do for students.” Sarah Arnold, Head of School, Northeast Woodland Chartered Public School, Conway.

“Physical space in one of the largest hurdles we face as a school. Having access to this expansion grant may enable us to look forward to a physical plant that otherwise would have been beyond our reach.” Christopher Smith, Dean of School, The Birches Academy of Academics and Art, Salem. 

“We are currently in negotiations with a district in the Monadnock region to open a satellite campus, as no alternative programs exist in the southwestern part of the state. Our Board of Directors and administration were hoping to apply for federal funds for this expansion. These funds will be used to increase the size of our program and offset costs to the home districts and CSI Charter School.” Jim Gorman, Co-Director, CSI Charter School, Penacook.

“Heartwood Public Charter School is desperately needed in our rural and underprivileged region – a region where there are few educational school choices. Without these funds, we will simply not be able to open – at least not in the foreseeable future.” Ann Auger, Bethany Bond, Lyn Schmucker, Courtney Vashaw, and Stacey Zemla, The Heartwood Foundation, Lancaster.

“These funds will be used to secure a facility and increase the size of our program, as well as serve a greater number of educationally disadvantaged students in and around our area. We have been in communication with the local districts and they are encouraging Ledyard to expand to a seventh and eighth-grade program. This is an immediate need in our community and the federal grant dollars would help us meet the needs of our local school districts.” John Higgins, Executive Director, Ledyard Charter School, Lebanon.

The Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee meets Friday, October 16 at 10 a.m.