The state Department of Education has received nearly $6 million to help create new types of schools known as charter schools in South Carolina. Charter schools are alternatives to regular public schools. They receive public money but are not subject to some of the regulations that apply to other public schools. In return, the founders agree to produce certain results. Students can choose to enroll at these schools.
The $5.67 million grant provides funding for new charter programs across the state over the next two years, with additional money anticipated for a third year.
In a statement, state Superintendent of Education Jim Rex said the grant helps to expand the program across South Carolina:
The federal initiative is a good fit for the success we’ve had with supporting charter schools as a critical element of public school choice in South Carolina. Our charter school enrollment has increased 124 percent over the last two years, and we’re serious about maintaining a program that focuses on quality services for children
The grant proposal filed by the Department of Education attempts create new schools to serve at-risk students in low-income areas. It also requests funding to train the necessary faculty.
Over 12,000 students are currently enrolled in South Carolina charter schools. Rex hopes to form 40 new schools over the next several years. He says there are no caps on the number of charter programs or their enrollments.
The Department’s partners in the project included Frances Marion University’s Center of Excellence to Prepare Teachers of Children of Poverty, the South Carolina Public Charter School District, Palmetto Charter Network and the South Carolina Association of Public Charter Schools.