PRESS RELEASE - August 28, 2003
New Mexico State Department
of Education

300 Don Gaspar
Santa Fe, NM 87501-2786

Ruth Williams
Public Outreach Director
(505) 476-0393

SDE Receives $5.7 Million Grant to Support High-Quality Charter Schools

(Santa Fe, NM)--The New Mexico State Department of Education (SDE) has received $5.7 million in grant funding for 2003-2004 under the U.S. Department of Education’s (USDOE) Public Charter Schools Program to help create more successful examples of charter schools and share information on how charter schools work. Funding may be renewed each year for up to three years.

Up to 10 percent of the grant must be disseminated in sub-grants to spread lessons learned from high-quality charter schools on how to create and sustain high-quality, accountable schools.

“This funding will help us to increase the number of high-quality charter schools in New Mexico. What we are seeking is performance-based accountability and charter schools that stimulate the creativity and commitment of school communities. Through this grant we can provide public school options for parents and build on school improvement efforts already underway in our state,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Michael J. Davis.

“The diversity of our charter schools excites me! The support for charter schools is coming not only from the state level, but, most importantly, from local communities. Charter schools represent new ways to improve outcomes for public school children,” he said.

Alaska ($1.75 million), Iowa ($1.08 million), Kansas ($2.5 million), New Hampshire ($1.64 million), Pennsylvania ($5.15 million), South Carolina ($1.26 million) and 18 individual schools in Arizona (sharing $2.6 million in grants) and Mississippi ($78,592) also received grants under the $21.8 million program. New Mexico’s funding ($5.72 million) exceeded the funding provided to the other grantees.

In 1999, the New Mexico Legislature expanded the Charter School Law to allow for 75 start up and 25 conversion charter schools to be established in the state over any five-year period. In March 2000, the SDE received a $4.450 million grant from the USDOE’s Public Charter Schools Program that resulted in more than $14 million over three years to assist up to 60 new charter schools.

The new grant will support up to 36 charter schools (the number of charter schools in New Mexico) and an additional estimated 30 charter schools that might form in the next three years.