CHARLOTTE, NC- The U.S. Department of Education has awarded North Carolina $36.6 million to increase the number of "educationally disadvantaged students" attending charter schools. The program got off to a slow start last year, but this year a quarter of the state's charter schools have said they're interested in applying for a share of the grant money.
The grant money could address how North Carolina charter schools on average don't serve as many low-income students as traditional public schools.
Charter schools are taxpayer-funded schools that are exempt from some of the rules that traditional public schools must follow, such as participating in the federal school lunch program and providing transportation for students. There are 196 charter schools now open across the state, up since the majority-led General Assembly removed the 100-school limit in 2011. The majority of students in North Carolina's traditional public schools are economically disadvantaged compared to 18.8% in charter schools.