This section lists the primary sources of funding for charter schools in Indiana as well as several grant opportunities. Charter schools are encouraged to reach out to the contact noted for each funding source to learn more. For a complete list of charter school funding sources, please refer to the ICSB Start-Up Manual.
Basic Grant for Charter Schools (other than Virtual Charter Schools)
Charter schools, like all public schools in Indiana, receive general tuition support from the State and are funded as their own separate Local Educational Agency (LEA). Per-pupil funding is administered by the IDOE and is referred to as the Basic Grant.
Per-pupil funding for a charter school in its first year of operation is the same amount as per-pupil funding for the district in which the charter school is located. The per-pupil funding for a charter school in its second year of operation or beyond is based on the target revenue the school generates through the school funding formula (i.e., based on the previous year's funding level and student counts). These state payments are sent directly to the charter school, for which the Organizer is the fiscal agent.
New charter schools receive Basic Grant funding beginning in the second semester of the charter school's first year of operation. Basic Grant funding always lags by six months, because the amount of funding is calculated using the Average Daily Membership (ADM) student count taken each September. This funding lag continues throughout the life of the charter term, including any charter renewals.
A note about high school funding: schools receive funding for students in a regular public education program until the student earns a high school diploma, regardless of the student's age. The regulations are different, however, for special education funding. While schools continue receiving Basic Grant support for special education students, after students reach the age of 22, state and federal funding specifically earmarked for special education is no longer available. Other federal and state grants (e.g., Title I funds) also have age caps.
Schools are encouraged to contact the IDOE's Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840 for specific guidance regarding per-pupil funding for charter schools. Schools may also wish to review the 2011-2013 Digest of Public School Finance in Indiana.
Start-Up Grant for Charter Schools (other than Virtual Charter Schools)
In May 2011, IC § 20-24-7.5 established a start-up grant for new charter schools (other than virtual charter schools) to address the lag in funding under the state funding formula. This grant amounted to four months of funding, paid in one lump sum in January of the school's first operational year, so it did not address a new school's cash flow needs. In March 2012, House Enrolled Act (HEA) 1189 increased the amount of the charter school start-up grant from four to six months of funding, changed the payment timing to the beginning of the school's first operational year, and required the grant to be paid in monthly installments over the period July-December. In effect, the start-up grant payment schedule mimics the state's ADM funding schedule and helps to ameliorate the funding lag for new charter schools.
Beginning in July 2012, new charter schools opening in Fall 2012 are eligible for this start-up grant. The grant is calculated using estimated student enrollment, as evidenced by documentation requirements stipulated by the IDOE. Note that HEA 1189 was passed as an emergency bill, limiting this funding mechanism to the 2012-2013 school year, although an extension of this change to the start-up grant will be considered during the 2013 legislative session (also a budget year).
Schools are encouraged to contact the IDOE's Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840 for specific guidance regarding the charter school start-up grant.
Virtual Charter School Funding
In Indiana, virtual charter schools are funded differently than traditional charter schools. Indiana statute defines a virtual charter school as any charter school, including a conversion charter school, that provides for the delivery of more than 50% of instruction to students through: (1) virtual distance learning, (2) online technologies, or (3) computer based instruction.
The Basic Grant for virtual charter schools is calculated by the virtual charter school's ADM multiplied by 87.5% of the school's foundation amount determined under IC § 20-43-5-4. In order to determine the foundation amount, virtual charter schools must complete the calculation for the school foundation amount in the Basic Grant formula. Additionally, virtual charter schools are eligible for special education funding.
New virtual charter schools receive Basic Grant funding beginning in January of the school's first operational year. To address the ADM funding lag, new virtual charter schools are eligible to apply for a start-up loan through the Common School Fund to cover the first six months of operations. More information about the Common School Fund is provided in the section below.
For more information about virtual charter school funding, schools are encouraged to contact the IDOE's Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840.
Common School Fund
Per IC § 20-49-7, charter schools (including virtual charter schools) that do not receive, or are ineligible for, a charter school start-up grant may submit an application to the IDOE for a loan from the Common School Fund to cover the first six months of the school's operating costs during the first year of student enrollment. Charter schools may not obtain a loan from the Common School Fund for any capital or equipment costs. In addition, any charter school may apply for a loan from the Common School Fund if it experiences an increase in enrollment of at least 15% from the previous school year. The Common School Fund is administered by the IDOE's Office of School Finance. The Office issues loans for a charter school's first year of operation in one lump sum shortly after the school submits its loan application (assuming application approval). For more information on the Common School Fund, visit the Learning Connection Community: IDOE School Finance or contact the IDOE's Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840.
Repayment of a Common School Fund loan is made by the charter school over a maximum of twenty years at an interest rate set by the State Board of Education (minimum 1 percent, maximum 4 percent). Alternatively, the General Assembly may appropriate tuition support dollars for loan repayment in the years following the years the loans were made. Schools must submit the Taxpayer Identification Number Request (IRS Form W-9) to the State Auditor, as well as a form for Automated Direct Deposit Authorization Agreement (Form SF#47551) in order to start receiving payments from the State. The State cannot send any payments to the school until both forms are received. Schools can enter their information directly onto the online version of the form W-9 Form. The IDOE will send deposit information directly to the school when a payment is made; usually 24 hours prior to the actual payment. For more information, please review the 2011-2013 Digest of Public School Finance in Indiana or call the Office of School Finance at 317-232-0840. The Learning Connection Community IDOE School Finance also houses helpful resources on the Common School Fund.
Full-Day Kindergarten Grant
Effective July 2012, Indiana provides funding for full-day kindergarten programs that meet the academic standards and requirements stipulated by the IDOE. The IDOE utilizes the September ADM count data to determine a school's kindergarten funding amount in two ways: monthly ADM payments (note that a kindergarten student counts as ½ of a student for purposes of the ADM count and for calculating ADM funding), and a one-time lump sum grant paid in December, calculated by multiplying the September ADM of full-day kindergarten students by a flat per-pupil amount of $2,400. Schools are required to apply for the grant each year, based upon information distributed by the IDOE each Spring. Schools participating in the full-day kindergarten program may not charge a fee for students enrolling in or attending full-day kindergarten.
The IDOE's Office of School Finance administers the full-day kindergarten grant. Schools are encouraged to contact Dana Jones, IDOE Early Childhood Specialist, with any questions. Dana can be reached at 317-234-6523 or email@example.com.
The Public Charter Schools Program (PCSP) Grant
In 2010, the Indiana Department of Education received federal grant dollars under Title V, Part B, Subpart 1: Public Charter Schools Program (PCSP), of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. The PCSP grant allows the Department of Education to provide subgrants to charter schools for initial planning and implementation activities. Funds will be available from this grant through July 31, 2015.
The purpose of Indiana's PCSP subgrant program is to increase the number of high quality charter schools across the state by providing financial assistance through funding for planning, program design, and initial implementation of a charter school and to support charter schools in conducting high quality educational programs.
Charter school organizers are eligible to apply for this competitive grant immediately upon being awarded a charter by their authorizer. Applicants are advised that successful PCSP grant recipients will be awarded a contract backdated to the date when the PCSP funding application was submitted. Please note that PCSP funding is competitive and therefore is not guaranteed. Most applicants do not receive the full amount of funding requested, and any applicant with a low application score will not receive any funding.
The grant is administered by the Indiana Department of Education and overseen by the IDOE's Charter School Specialist, Jeff Barber. For more information regarding funding amounts and the grant application, please contact Jeff at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-232-9143.
Per-Pupil Facilities Aid Program
The Per-Pupil Facilities Aid Program allows the IDOE to provide funding to charter schools for facilities costs. This grant provides federal matching funds to state funds and provides per-pupil facilities aid to charter schools. Funds will be available from this program through September 30, 2014. The program is administered by the IDOE and overseen by the IDOE's Charter School Specialist, Jeff Barber. Jeff can be contacted at email@example.com or 317-232-9143.
Part B, IDEA
Under the provisions of the Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), states are required to take steps to ensure that each new charter school receives Part B, Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEA”) federal funds during its first year of operation. In order to receive such funds, a charter school must provide to the IDOE the information needed to determine the initial grant award.
Federal special education funds allocated to LEAs under Part B, IDEA are based on four factors: the number of students with disabilities, the total number of students (with and without disabilities), base pay amount, the number of students receiving free and reduced lunches. Each category has an established per child amount calculated each new fiscal year based on the State’s allocation, which will be multiplied by the total number served in that category. These amounts are added together to get the total allocation for each LEA.
A base payment is the amount the agency would have received for fiscal year 1997 after the State distributed 75% of its allocated funds to the LEAs. In Indiana, the base pay amount is $519.40 per child that was counted for the 1997 December 1 count. For new charters, $519.40 would be multiplied by the number of students with disabilities reported on the December 1 count in the first year the school is in operation. The new charter will then use this number as the base pay total until federal regulations change.
New schools that wish to receive their funding beginning in September need to submit estimated total enrollment, estimated free and reduced-price lunch count and the estimated special education child count to the Office of Special Education in August. The State will then generate the total allocation for the new school based on the formula described above. Once the new school receives the allocated amount, an application for that fiscal year must be completed and submitted to the IDOE Office of Special Education for review and approval. When the new school receives approval for the application, reimbursement forms may be submitted to the Office of Finance. If the new school has estimates that need to be adjusted after the December 1 count is submitted, the adjustments should be reported to the Office of Special Education, and the allocation amount could be altered. Please contact Jennifer Thompson, IDOE Grants Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-234-1002 to discuss this process and to learn more information. Please click here to watch a WebEx on the FY 2013 Part B Grant Application, and here to view the corresponding PowerPoint. For step-by-step instructions and guidance for new charters applying for the grant, please click here. Templates for the application can be found in the Learning Connection Community “IDOE – Special Education Administrators.”
Title I Funding
Title I provides supplemental federal funding for low achieving students that is targeted to high-poverty schools. Funds are used to implement programs and services that provide extra academic support and learning opportunities for children who are failing to meet, or are most at risk of failing to meet, state and local standards.
Title I funds should not be used in place of general tuition support dollars. Rather the funds must supplement the school’s regular instructional program. Learning opportunities must be academic in nature. Examples may include, but are not limited to: After-, before-, and summer school programs; specialized teachers (e.g., reading teachers); instructional interventionists; and instructional coaches (e.g., job-embedded professional development). Funds may be used for research-based professional development opportunities for teachers and paraprofessional who provide instructional support to Title I students. Funds can also be used to provide opportunities and activities that increase meaningful parental involvement.
Title I allocations to school corporations are based on census poverty data. Charter schools do not have their own census poverty count because students are drawn from across census boundaries. Therefore, the IDOE applies a multi-step formula to determine the school’s equivalent of census poverty. This count determines eligibility and generates allocations. Eligibility is determined by the number of “formula children” in the charter school (i.e., the number of students eligible for free or reduced-price lunch in relation to the school’s overall census poverty data). To be eligible for a Title I basic grant, a charter school must have at a minimum at least ten “formula children” and the number of “formula children” must make up more than 2% of the student population (ages 5-17). Additional grants and funding may be generated, depending upon the total percentage of poverty for the charter school.
Once eligibility is determined, the charter school will draw Title I funds from each district in which “formula children” reside, and will receive the same amount per “formula child” as that particular district receives. The aggregate of the per-pupil amounts will generate the charter school’s allocation.
Once the IDOE determines the charter school’s allocation, it will provide guidance to the school on how to complete the Title I application (including helping to identify uses for the funds). A Charter School Title I Application Training WebEx can be found here. Several resources, including federal guidance, sample documents, and technical assistance materials are available on the IDOE’s Learning Connection website in the “IDOE-Title I” learning community. For additional information, please visit the IDOE website: http://www.doe.in.gov/improvement/title-i. For questions, please contact Sholonda Trice, IDOE Assistant Director of Grants Management, Monitoring & Reporting, at email@example.com or 317-232-0540.
Title II, Part A Funding
The purpose of Title II, Part A is to increase the academic achievement of all students by 1) helping schools and districts improve teacher and principal quality and 2) ensuring that all teachers are highly qualified. State Educational Agencies (“SEA”), LEAs and State Agencies for Higher Education (“SAHE”) receive funds on a formula basis. In addition, eligible partnerships consisting of high-need LEAs and Institutions of Higher Education (“IHE”) receive funds that are competitively awarded by the SAHE. Title II, Part A funds are available to all public school and charter school LEAs.
Consistent with LEA planning requirements and needs assessment, the Title II, Part A program offers an LEA the flexibility to design and implement a wide variety of activities that can promote a teaching staff that is highly qualified and able to help all students – regardless of individual learning needs – achieve challenging State content and academic achievement standards. Funds can also be used to provide school principals with the knowledge and skills necessary to lead their schools’ efforts in increasing student academic achievement.
Title II, Part A, like most of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act formula programs, is “forward funded.” Funds remain available for a period of 27 months after July 1. This 27-month period includes an initial 15-month period of availability and an automatic 12-month extension permitted under the “Tydings Amendment.” For example, funds appropriated for Federal Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 first become available on July 1, 2011, and remain available for obligation through September 30, 2013.
Title II, Part A grant applications and several resources including federal guidance, sample documents, and technical assistance materials are available on IDOE’s Learning Connection Community “IDOE – Title II A and Highly Qualified Teacher Status.” Please click here to view the Title II Application Guidance WebEx. For more information, please contact Sholonda Trice, IDOE Assistant Director of Grants Management, Monitoring & Reporting, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-232-0540, or contact Debbie Yates, IDOE Grants Specialist, at email@example.com or 317-234-0215.
Title III: Language Instruction for Limited English Proficient and Immigrant Students
The Title III funding aims to help ensure that children who are Limited English Proficient (“LEP”) attain English proficiency, develop high levels of academic attainment in English, and meet the same challenging State academic content and student academic achieve standards. Schools must use approaches and methodologies based on scientifically based research on teaching limited English proficient children and immigrant children. To review funded activities and grant requirements, please visit http://www.doe.in.gov/achievement/english-learners/title-iii-language-instruction-limited-english-proficient-and-immigrant and the Learning Connection Community “IDOE - Title III and NESP.” Click here to see the Title III 2012-2013 Application Presentation, and click here to review the 2012-2013 Title III Application User Guide. All current presentations and user guides will be available on Learing Connection. Angela Mello, IDOE English Learning Specialist, may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-232-0558.