The South Carolina Public Charter School District has made a total of $1 million available in grants for its 33 schools.
The district’s board made the decision to use $1 million of its fund balance for the grants unanimously at its November board meeting.
The schools must apply for the grants by April 3, according to a released statement from the district. Each school can apply for up to five grants but can receive a maximum of $30,000 total.
Of the 33 schools in the South Carolina Public Charter School District, 17 of them are located in the Upstate and 12 are in Greenville County.
The district’s statement said the grant will be awarded to schools based on proposals for “improving student outcomes, increasing access and equity (particularly for low-income students and students of color), expanding or replicating effective school models, and addressing an urgent need or area of deficiency.”
The district announced it will notify schools on April 12 whether their grants were accepted or rejected. Half of the grants will be distributed in May and the other half will be distributed in December.
But there are a few provisions — schools who petition to transfer out of the district and are approved before July 1, 2020 must pay back the grant, and schools currently requesting to transfer are not eligible.
The district had 10 schools transfer to the Charter Institute at Erskine College last year.
In a released statement, SCPCSD board chairman Laban Chappell said he was proud of the district.
“Since Superintendent Smalley has taken the helm, we have witnessed not only growth in student academic achievement, but also growth in District financial reserves due to fiscal responsibility. It is prudent for the District to maintain a reasonable amount of reserve funds as required by statute and board policy,” Chappell said in the statement. “However, as a result of the actions and decisions of Mr. Smalley and our staff, we have the opportunity and good fortune to distribute excess funds to your school in the form of the District’s Mini-Grant program.”
A spokesperson for the district said the district’s fund balance will sit at about $4 million after the grant money is transferred out.