Charter Schools

Use of Start-Up Grant Funds Gao ID: HEHS-98-150R April 30, 1998

Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on charter schools' use of start-up funds, focusing on the: (1) funds charter schools received for the 1996 to 1997 school year; and (2) amount of funds awarded to states under this program for fiscal years 1995-1997.

GAO noted that: (1) from fiscal year (FY) 1995 through FY 1997, the Department of Education awarded charter school start-up grants to 23 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico; (2) for this period, the amount of funds states received ranged from about $240,000 to over $6 million; (3) in turn, states have provided these funds to charter schools; (4) more than half of the charter schools in GAO's survey received start-up funds ranging from $7,000 to $84,000; (5) a majority of these schools used the funds for curriculum materials and school equipment, facilities leases and renovation, and technology; and (6) charter schools that did not receive start-up grants were: (a) ineligible for grants under their state guidelines; (b) unsuccessful in competing for a grant; (c) did not know about the program; or (d) chose not to apply.

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