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Nearly $8 Million Awarded to St. Louis Schools, Fastest Disbursement of Cash in Federal Program History

We are thrilled to announce that nearly $8 million in funding has been awarded to four innovative charter public schools as part of the first round of The Expanding Opportunities: Missouri Charter School Program (CSP). This initiative, fueled by a $35.5 million federal Charter School Program – State Entity (CSP-SE) grant awarded in October 2023, aims to bolster the development and expansion of quality charter schools throughout Missouri. It is the first time the US Department of Education has allocated funds from the CSP-SE program to the state.

Efficiently adhering to federal guidelines, our team swiftly disbursed these funds within six months, faster than the expected timeframe for CSP-SE grant recipients. This is the first of multiple grant cycles to be administered over the next five years.

“This CSP-SE investment from the US Department of Education is a first for Missouri, and we treated it with the urgency it deserves,” said Eric Scroggins, CEO of The Opportunity Trust. “The most vulnerable children in our community remain significantly behind academically, and these resources will help these schools expand access to their innovative programs, accelerate progress to catch students up, and we believe create new examples of what is possible in public education for our state.”

Impact of Grants:

The grants will facilitate the creation of more than 1,000 new enrollment opportunities for students with limited access to quality education across Missouri. These funds will support crucial elements such as classroom technology, teacher development, educational materials, and lab equipment, directly enhancing students’ access to quality learning. The four schools selected in the initial round of funding are:

“This funding is a win for students and families across our state,” says Noah Devine, Executive Director of the Missouri Public Charter School Association. “We are particularly excited that educators and community members interested in launching a new public charter school in Boone County and other parts of the state, some through a district-sponsored charter school, now have this opportunity for funding as well.”

More info on public charter schools in Boone County Missouri.

Grant recipients underwent a rigorous selection process, evaluated by an external peer review panel comprising education experts from across Missouri and the nation. Ongoing monitoring, including school visits and annual reporting, will ensure accountability and progress. The second round of grant applications is slated to open in August 2024, inviting charter schools, including district-sponsored charter schools statewide to apply for these transformative funds.

At its FY 2024 funding level of $440 million, the US Department of Education Charter School Program amounts to less than 1% of federal spending on K-12 education but has a significant impact. In Missouri, charter schools rank in the top five nationwide for learning growth, as per research from the Center for Research on Educational Outcomes at Stanford University (CREDO). The grant aims to support the launch and expansion of quality charter schools nationwide.

Click here for more information on The Expanding Opportunities: Missouri Charter School Program (CSP) and details regarding the second grant competition round, or contact

Hear more from St. Louis Public Radio.