The Walton Family Foundation in Bentonville, Arkansas, has announced a $15 million grant to the California Charter Schools Association to help boost the number of seats in high-quality charter schools in Los Angeles.
Over the next three years, the foundation hopes to make it possible for an extra hundred thousand children to attend charter schools in Los Angeles — one of the foundation's seven target school districts. The grant will create twenty thousand additional seats in Los Angeles, where the charter school movement has seen strong growth, robust demand from families, continuing improvements in charter school performance, and a commitment from CCSA to work toward the closure of chronically low-performing schools.
Before this grant, CCSA had received $17.9 million from the foundation since 2003 to create more than six hundred new charter schools and accommodate two hundred thousand students. Over the past five years, the foundation also has invested more than $46 million in other state charter school associations, with its annual investments growing from $5.6 million in 2006 to more than $14 million in 2010. Its other target districts are Albany, New York; Denver, Colorado; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Newark, New Jersey; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Washington, D.C.
"The Walton Family Foundation is investing in CCSA due to its effectiveness at helping expand the right of parents to choose quality charter schools for their children, as well as CCSA's success in pursuing state and local policies that seek to increase public charter school funding to levels comparable to traditional public schools," said Jim Blew, head of the Walton Family Foundation's K-12 education reform efforts. "With this investment, the foundation will assist the California charter school movement in an effort to give a hundred thousand new children the opportunity to attend a quality charter school. The foundation will continue to support organizations like CCSA across the country that expand access to quality charter schools and inspire all public schools to improve."