FAIRFAX — A proposed charter school did not receive funding from a federal grant program — a rejection that could delay or jeopardize the project’s launch.
The Fairfax Leadership Academy had applied for funds to plan and design its program for at-risk students. But the U.S. Department of Education announced that 20 grants totaling nearly $4 million would go to charters in seven other states.
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Eric Welch, organizer of the Fairfax project, said the denial clouds the funding picture and could delay his charter’s application process with the local district, which is empowered to accept or reject charter proposals. The leadership academy has already won approval from the state Board of Education.
Virginia, which has only four charter schools, received an “F” grade this year from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Education Reform, which annually rates states’ charter-school laws. Each of the states that won charter grants earned higher grades from CER.
At a recent public hearing by the Fairfax School Board, 44 of 49 speakers voiced support for the Leadership Academy, which would serve students in grades 7-12. Charter schools are publicly funded, independently operated campuses that accept students on a first-come, first-serve basis.
An Oct. 25 vote on the Leadership Academy is scheduled by the Fairfax board, but Welch indicated he may seek a delay until all funding issues are worked out.