WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, and Michael Bennet (D-CO) introduced the Equitable Access to School Facilities Act to ensure access to public property and provide federal grants to states for charter school facilities. The grants, available from the Federal Charter Schools Program, can be used by charter schools to acquire and renovate existing facilities, cover ongoing facilities costs, or create a reserve fund for future acquisition, renovation, or maintenance.
“Charter schools often provide a valuable option for parents looking to meet their child’s educational needs,” said Dr. Cassidy. “This legislation improves the learning environment for these students to help them succeed.”
“Every student deserves access to a high-quality education that prepares them for future success. This bill invests in charter schools and gives them additional tools to support students of every background,” said Senator Bennet.
“Public charter schools are an essential part of America’s public education system, and students who attend these unique public schools deserve access to facilities equal to their peers at district public schools. Lack of access to appropriate facilities restricts the growth of charter schools, limiting their ability to meet parental demand. Plus, without dedicated facilities funding, resources that are dedicated to academic programming and student services must be used for facilities. The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools applauds Senators Bennet and Cassidy for introducing the bipartisan Equitable Access to School Facilities Act, which strengthens the Charter Schools Program so that it can remove the financial barriers to opening the doors of new charter schools and expanding existing high-performing schools,” said Nina Rees, President and CEO, National Alliance for Public Charter Schools.
Yesterday, Cassidy, Bennet, and U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced a resolution celebrating National Charter Schools Week and commending charter schools for their contributions to education.
The Equitable Access to School Facilities Act:
- Improves charter schools’ access to facilities funding and financing within a state by reducing any gaps in funding between charter schools and other public schools;
- Promotes charter schools’ utilization of public buildings; and
- Increases charter schools’ access to facilities located in low-income and rural communities.