The president today released a broad outline of his spending plan. The $59 billion education budget would boost funding for the federal Charter Schools Program, set aside $250 million for an unspecified private school choice initiative, and increase federal funding to support low-income students while pushing districts to use it in a choice-friendly way.
The plan received a mixed reaction among education reformers. They generally praised Trump’s support for school choice. But some criticized proposed cuts to other programs, and others expressed skepticism about the federal role in education.
The charter school program supports startup schools, as well as state initiatives designed to improve charter school quality. Florida received more than $58 million of its most recent installment, the largest share of any state. Trump has proposed increasing the $333 million program by $168 million, or roughly 50 percent.
National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President Nina Rees issued a statement of appreciation for additional charter school funding.
“In the current school year, more than 200,000 new students are attending charter public schools, bringing nationwide enrollment to more than 3 million students,” she said. “Still, there could be at least another 2 million students whose parents would enroll them in charter schools if they could. Increased funding for the CSP is essential to expanding charter school capacity and reducing the wait for these families.”
Other supporters of charter school grants, like the National Association of Charter School authorizers, said they were “deeply concerned” about cuts elsewhere in the president’s plan.