President Obama unveiled his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2017, which includes $350 million for the Charter Schools Program. This is a 5 percent increase over the $333 million included in the FY2016 Consolidated Appropriations Act.
National Alliance President and CEO Nina Rees released the following statement in response to the president’s announcement saying, “Throughout his administration, President Obama has been a strong supporter of charter public schools. The charter school movement is grateful for the president’s support, and we applaud his final budget proposal, which provides critically needed funding for the Charter Schools Program (CSP). This funding will allow more high-quality charter schools to open, expand, and replicate, and allow more students to access the great education they deserve.”
A new National Alliance report shows that in the current school year, more than 250,000 new students are attending charter public schools. This brings the nationwide enrollment to nearly 3 million students. Despite this large growth, there are 1 million student names still on charter school wait lists. Increased funding for the CSP is essential to expanding charter school capacity and reducing these wait lists.
While the president’s budget increase gives critical support to charter schools, they are still underfunded compared to district-run public schools. Research has consistently shown that charter schools across the country still receive nearly 30 percent less per pupil per year in funding than neighboring district-run public schools. Increased funding, like that in the president’s budget, is essential to ensure that more families in the United States have an equal opportunity to send their children to high-quality public schools.