Rebecca R. Skinner
Specialist in Education Policy
The primary source of federal aid to K-12 education is the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The ESEA was initially enacted in 1965 (P.L. 89-10), and was most recently amended and reauthorized by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB, P.L. 107-110), which authorized virtually all ESEA programs through FY2008. The 112th Congress is actively engaged in work to amend the ESEA. On June 16, 2011, Representative Duncan Hunter, Chairman of the Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education Subcommittee of the House Education and the Workforce Committee, introduced the Empowering Parents through Quality Charter Schools Act (H.R. 2218). This bill would modify the existing Charter Schools Program, Per-Pupil Facilities Aid program, and Credit Enhancement Initiatives to Assist Charter School Facility Acquisition, Construction, and Renovation program (hereinafter referred to as the Credit Enhancement program) currently authorized under ESEA Title V-B-1 and 2.
H.R. 2218 would make substantial changes to Title V-B-1 and 2, while preserving many of the provisions of current law, albeit in a different structure. Some of the most substantial changes that would be made by H.R. 2218 include the following:
- Expand the scope of the Charter School Program to include funding for new charter schools; replicable, high-quality charter school models; and the expansion of high-quality charter schools.
- Change applicant eligibility for the Charter School Program.
- Extend the grant period under the Charter School Program from up to three years to up to five years for both state entities receiving grants from the Secretary of Education and eligible applicants receiving grants from state entities.
- Retain both the Per-Pupil Facilities Aid program and the Credit Enhancement program with provisions similar to those contained in current law, but restructure current law provisions to authorize both programs under a new section entitled Facilities Financing Assistance. Priority would be given to using funds for the Credit Enhancement program over the use of funds for the Per-Pupil Facilities Aid program.
- Change the use of funds for national activities to focus on providing charter school startup grants to eligible applicants and disseminating technical assistance to state entities in awarding subgrants, disseminating best practices, and evaluating the impact of the charter school program.
- Alter the authorization of funds for all three charter school programs, as well as for national activities, authorizing 15% of the total appropriation for Facilities Financing Assistance, up to 5% for national activities, and the remaining funds for the Charter School Program.
Date of Report: June 21, 2011
Number of Pages: 55
Order Number: R41877
Follow us on TWITTER at http://www.twitter.com/alertsPHP or #CRSreports
Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.