THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
WHITE HOUSE RELEASES STUDY SHOWING BOOM IN CHARTER SCHOOLS AND ANNOUNCES $30 MILLION INCREASE IN CHARTER SCHOOL FUNDING February 11, 2000
The White House today will release a new report detailing the growth of charter schools across the country, and will announce that the President's FY 2001 budget includes a $30 million increase in charter school funding. Charter schools are independent public schools founded by parents and teachers, and open to all students. In exchange for high levels of accountability for student achievement, they are given more autonomy and flexibility than traditional public schools in staffing, curriculum and other areas. Today's report, produced by the Department of Education, reveals that charter schools are growing more widespread each year, and sheds light on the benefits they bring through smaller size and diversity. The President's FY 2001 budget includes a $30 million increase for charter schools, bringing total funding to $175 million annually.
NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS POPULARITY, SMALLER SCHOOL SIZE, AND DIVERSITY OF CHARTER SCHOOLS. Today's report shows that more than 250,000 students nationwide are now enrolled in charter schools in 30 states and the District of Columbia. (Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have now passed legislation allowing the creation of charter schools). According to the report, seven out of ten charter schools have waiting lists for students. The report also shows that most charter schools are small schools. In fact, the median enrollment of all charter schools is 137 students, compared to 475 for all public schools in the same states. Seven of ten charter schools are also newly created schools. Eighteen percent are pre-existing public schools that convert to charter status, while 10 percent are converted private schools. The report also reveals that charter schools enroll a slightly higher percentage of students who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunch than other public schools in their states and reflect similar racial diversity.
President Clinton's leadership key to growth of charter schoolS. President Clinton has long been a champion of charter schools. When the President was first elected, there was only one public charter school open in the United States. This year, according to today's report, 1,605 charter schools were in operation as of September 1999 -- more than halfway to the President's goal of 3,000 charter schools. National leadership has played a key role in this rapid growth: federal funds have supported the creation of individual charter schools and helped disseminate best practices and strategies among these schools. Today the White House will announce that the President's FY 2001 budget includes $175 million for the Education Department's Public Charter Schools Program -- a $30 million increase over last year's levels. Local charter schools use federal funds for planning and development, as well as for start-up costs, which are a major barrier to the creation of such schools.
Charter schools: IMPROVING PUBLIC EDUCATION AND EMPOWERING PARENTS.