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New Florida charter schools can vie for start-up funds

In the face of key changes to its application process, the Florida Department of Education is taking steps to smooth the way for charter schools interested in submitting proposals for the agency's start-up grants.

The FLDOE is hosting a conference call at 10 a.m. Nov. 30 to provide technical assistance in regards to its 2013-16 Public Charter Schools Grant Program (CSP). Interested participants must register here. Full instructions on how to register can be found on the FLDOE Web site.

The CSP is an annual program that provides financial assistance for the planning and initial implementation of newly approved charter schools. Charter schools that are currently in operation are not eligible to apply.

A total of nearly $25 million is available through the program. The funds may be dispersed to as many as 60 projects, with grants typically awarded for a period of up to three years.

A pivotal change this year is the implementation of a two-stage process in the grant's Request for Proposals.

Stage I, with a due date of Dec. 24, will be open to all eligible applicants. This phase will provide the FLDOE with a period of review, during which officials will score each application based on a set of criteria. Charter schools may be eligible for "preference points" if they meet certain funding priorities, such as operating in a feeder zone of lower-achieving, traditional public schools or in rural or low-income districts.

Once the review process is complete, FLDOE officials will send invitations via e-mail to those charter schools that scored enough points to move on to Stage II. At this time, applicants will be invited to submit a complete hard-copy version of their proposal. The deadline for this phase is April 1, 2013.

For interested charter schools, Nov. 30 is the deadline to submit an Intent-to-Apply via e-mail or fax. This Intent-to-Apply is not required for an application to be considered, nor does it behold a charter school to applying. With this notification, you will receive e-mails with answers to frequently asked questions and competition updates. 

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