HARRISBURG (May 10, 2021)  – The Pennsylvania Coalition of Public Charter School (PCPCS) today announced the three subgrantees who may receive as much as $1.5 million each through Pennsylvania’s Charter School Program (PACSP) Grant. The three public charter schools were chosen to receive the federal funding during the inaugural year of the grant program. The funding was awarded to PCPCS to expand public charter school options in Pennsylvania.

“We are thrilled to make this announcement for many reasons, but especially as we kick off National Charter Schools Week in Pennsylvania,” said Brandie Karpew, co-director of PACSP. “This week is dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of public charter schools, nationwide and in Pennsylvania, and the impact that charter schools have had on thousands of students. It is only fitting that we announce, this week, the expansion of Pennsylvania’s public charter school movement through the PACSP Grant.” 

The U.S. Department of Education, last year, awarded its Expanding Opportunities Through Quality Charter School Program Grant (commonly known as the CSP Grant) to PCPCS to support the development, expansion and replication of high-quality public brick-and-mortar charter schools in Pennsylvania. The grant award will total $30 million over five years (2021-25). The public charter schools awarded PACSP subgrants this year are: City Charter High School, Pittsburgh Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School, Beaver County Bear Creek Community Charter School, Luzerne County.

“The three schools, selected by our independent review team, have proven that they have the leadership and expertise to help drive innovation that will benefit students and families seeking a public charter school education,” said Abigail Dubinchik, co-director of PACSP. “PCPCS and the PACSP team are committed to helping develop and expand educational options throughout the commonwealth, giving students more opportunities to enroll in high-quality public charter schools.”

Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School, a newly approved public charter school that will serve students in grades 9-12 in Beaver County, will use its grant award to facilitate the opening of the school in September 2022. City Charter High School and Bear Creek Community Charter School are existing public charter schools with plans to use their grant awards to expand their educational offerings to more students.

“Since 2002, City Charter High School has been a leader in innovative charter school education in the Pittsburgh area, with a proven track record in providing a rigorous education in a safe and caring environment,” said Dr. Dara Ware Allen, CEO and principal of City Charter High School.  “We are honored to have been awarded this PACSP Grant, which will support City High’s work in doing what we do best: cultivating our students’ individual talents, needs, skills and potential for even more of our region’s students to become lifelong learners and agents of change in their communities.”

“We are grateful to PCPCS for this tremendous validation of our vision and work,” said Stephen Catanzarite, acting CEO of Midland Innovation + Technology Charter School. “Our school will continue the tradition of excellence that began with the Midland Borough School District and is carried far and wide by numerous public education innovations it continues to inspire. This historic grant will provide the foundation upon which we will help generations of students build better futures. Today is a great day, not only for Midland but for the students and families of our entire region.”

Bear Creek Community Charter School opened its doors in 2004 with the mission to provide families in the Wilkes-Barre area a high-quality public school option, and we have been extremely successful in serving our diverse student population,” said Jim Smith, CEO of Bear Creek Community Charter School. “We are excited to expand our educational offerings and serve even more students from our local community who are looking for a supportive and innovative learning environment through the use of the PACSP Grant funds.”

How the PACSP Subgrants Are Awarded

An external peer review panel reviews each PACSP grant proposal. To ensure a diverse collection of impartial reviewers, the team consists of five primary members and two alternate members, including a successful charter school founder, an expert in charter school business management and finance, and a representative from a Pennsylvania institution of higher education.
Subgrantees can use their funds for:
*Planning and program design that does not exceed 18 months
*One-time costs for the purpose of opening, replicating or expanding a public brick-and-mortar charter school
*Costs associated with preparing teachers, school leaders and specialized instructional support personnel
*Educational supplies, training, equipment and materials
*Community engagement activities 

As the recipient of the federal CSP Grant, PCPCS acts as a pass-through entity for competitive funds, which are awarded to high-quality subgrantees who already have approval from their local authorizers to create, expand or replicate a brick-and-mortar charter school in Pennsylvania’s most underserved areas. 

The support and demand among families, community leaders and elected officials for Pennsylvania’s public charter schools have been consistent since the schools’ establishment in 1997. PCPCS received 22 letters of support for its CSP Grant application from charter school, school district and business leaders, educational advocates, and state and federal lawmakers.

For more information, contact Jess Hickernell at 717-371-8155 or j.hickernell@pacharters.org.