Topeka — The Kansas education agency Friday announced it was requesting proposals to develop an organization to help charter schools - a controversial issue that has divided state officials.
The winning group will have access to $40,000 to assist new charter schools, officials said. The funds are part of a federal grant to the Kansas State Department of Education.
Charter schools generally focus on specific populations of students, such as those who are having trouble succeeding in a traditional public school. There are 26 charter schools in Kansas.
The Kansas State Board of Education has been divided on the issue, and earlier this year the Legislature rejected an attempt to allow charter schools to be started without approval of the local school board.
Recently, the education agency was criticized for awarding grants of $1,995 each to applicants who said they were charter school consultants and would help groups and organizations wanting to petition local school boards for charter schools.
In addition to those grants, the federal charter school grant calls for development "of a self-sustaining statewide charter organization that can assist new public charter schools."
The education agency will take applications through Nov. 1.