Archive for Saturday, June 17, 2006

Federal grant will help state expand number of charter schools

June 17, 2006

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— Kansas will receive $10 million from the federal government during the next three years to develop more charter schools, it was announced Friday.

The state now has 28 charter schools, and plans are to increase that by 20 to 25 by 2009, according to a news release from the Kansas Department of Education.

Charter schools generally are free from some of the regulations applied to standard public schools and aim at serving a specific group of students, such as those with academic problems.

In Kansas, charter schools operate under the local school district, which must approve their startup.

Earlier this year, Kansas Education Commissioner Bob Corkins and the Kansas State Board of Education had proposed allowing charter schools to start without local school district approval. But that proposal died in the Legislature.

Jim Edwards, an official with the Kansas Association of School Boards, said the organization didn't oppose charter schools.

"We've always stressed that if there are those innovative things and ideas and elements of schools that make a school more effective, why would that not be good for all schools," he said.

In addition to trying to expand the number of charter schools, the Kansas grant will be used to disseminate best practices among charter schools, improve student performance and develop a statewide charter school organization.

Kansas was one of nine states to receive the grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The other states are Louisiana, Arkansas, Tennessee, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, South Carolina and New Mexico.

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