$52 million heading to public charter schools in New Mexico

52 million heading to public charter schools in New Mexico

Charter schools across the state are about to get a big boost thanks to a federal grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Public charter schools across New Mexico are getting a big boost: $52 million. The U.S. Department of Education awarded the federal grant to Public Charter Schools of New Mexico.

The majority of the money is headed directly to schools. All the money will be distributed over the next five years but some charter schools in the state could get funding as early as next fall.

“When we think about expanding a charter school, we’re looking at a school that’s already high performing,” said Matthew Pahl, executive director of Public Charter Schools of New Mexico. “We are going to provide 28 awards to charter schools, that’s where the bulk of the money goes. Over 90% of the dollars go there. The rest is how we plan on supporting to ensure that those schools are successful, the bulk of the money really goes towards helping great charter schools expand and serve more students.” 

The grant wasn’t awarded based on chance.  

“There was a large application with several requirements in there. And we were scored based on you know, how well we met the requirements and a peer review process,” said Pahl.

With 98 public charter schools across the state, the organization has to narrow down which schools best fit this specific grant.

“We will create an application process in conjunction with our federal partners and our steering committee, and then we’ll open it up for schools, we know a number of schools are thinking about growing, this is actually a grant that the state has had for 10 of the last 12 years,” said Pahl.

Their application process also has to be approved by the U.S. Department of Education.

“So the application is completed in the next couple of months. So the U.S. Department of Ed can take a look at it, give some feedback, and you know, get that finalized for that for that spring rollout,” said Pahl.

The internal application process for the charter schools will begin sometime in the spring or summer. Four schools will be chosen in the fall for the first round of grant awards. After that, Pahl says the number of schools chosen will increase year by year.