More than $17 million is coming to Maryland from the federal government. But, there are plenty of strings attached in order to cash in.
Charter school grant could mean more open seats in Anne Arundel County
The Monarch Global Academy in Laurel is one of five charter and contract schools run by the Children's Guild serving students in Anne Arundel County.
The K-8 school has been in the spotlight lately. One of its teachers, Heather Carnaghan, was recently named county Teacher of the Year.
"The most amazing thing about being in a charter school like this is the autonomy that we have to put together our curriculum, make choices for our students and make choices about our staff," Carnaghan said.
Charter school operators and those hoping to start programs like Monarch Global Academy may qualify for one of five grants totaling, on average, $700,000. The money can be used to start up new schools, known as replication schools, or for school expansion.
"I think when you think about charter schools, you're thinking about how to expand choice, and I think this is a huge incentive for the state to consider for each school district for charter operators," said Duane Arbogast, of the Children's Guild of Maryland.
Charter schools have become popular in Anne Arundel County and have led to a waiting list for students hoping to find empty seats. Schools officials said that's not by accident.
"We've had a great relationship with them. They offer another avenue of school choice for our students and their families, magnet programs and these kinds of things. Charter schools are another option for people as they look at the best education for their child," said Bob Mosier, spokesman for Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
The state's new charter school grants program is a five-year program.