Charter School Group Fund Launches $160 Million Campaign

The Denver-based Charter School Growth Fund has launched a $160 million capital campaign to help support the creation of non-traditional public schools nationwide, the Associated Press reports.

Once established, charter schools typically operate with a combination of public and private funding. Start-up funding, on the other hand, tends to be private, posing a challenge for parents, teachers, or business leaders who want to open a charter school. Start-up schools also have to pay rent for facilities and receive on average $2,200 less per student than traditional public schools, said Peter Groff, president of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

The Obama administration has encouraged the creation of new charter schools as part of its efforts to improve public education in the United States. Indeed, states that applied for the billions in funding available through the government's Race to the Top competition were required to have accommodating policies in place toward charter schools.

To date, the fund has raised half its goal from a range of individual and institutional donors, including the Walton Family Foundation and Netflix founder Reed Hastings. The campaign aims to establish 335,000 additional spots for children at charter schools in the next decade.

"There was a belief that there were lots of great schools out there, many of which wanted to be able to grow and serve more students," said Charter School Growth Fund CEO Kevin Hall. "We will help full fill their mission of dramatically changing education in their community."

"Charter School Group to Raise $160 Million." Associated Press 09/29/2010.