CONCORD, NH – Governor Chris Sununu announced a transfer of $7 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Funding to the New Hampshire Department of Education (DOE) to support the Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS). VLACS is a public charter school that provides online virtual instruction to elementary, middle, and high school students. The Department estimates that these funds will allow New Hampshire students to earn competencies in 14,000 courses through the end of this year.
“One of the reasons New Hampshire did so well in our switch to remote instruction this spring was because of the experience we had with VLACS,” said Gov. Chris Sununu. “As we return to school, VLACS is helping us provide education to every child in New Hampshire, whether it’s in class, a hybrid model, or remotely.”
Demand for VLACS courses has nearly tripled over the summer, with nearly 6,000 students requesting enrollment in 18,800 courses. VLACS currently serves 3,300 students, with 2,500 students on a waitlist for courses when available. VLACS has already hired an additional 73 teachers for this academic year, and plans to hire 30 more. Through its charter school funding system, the State provides $493.44 for each student who achieves competency in a half-credit course. This innovative funding model has given New Hampshire families a way to supplement course offerings at their local schools. During the COVID-19 pandemic, VLACS has been crucial in helping New Hampshire schools meet the needs of students who cannot attend class in person.
“I am pleased that we have been able to enable VLACS to scale up to meet the needs of New Hampshire students,” added Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. “With these funds in place, more New Hampshire schools and families will be able to use VLACS to access remote instruction to their students. This is a great example of New Hampshire working together to serve students.”
The State Board of Education this morning voted unanimously to increase VLACS’ authorized enrollment in order to meet the increased demand from New Hampshire families and schools during the pandemic.
The transfer request from the Governor’s Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR) is below.