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Start-up Process

Charter school startup funds support the initial planning and implementation of a charter school.

Charter school startup funds support the initial planning and implementation of a charter school.

Start-up funds are allowed for up to 36 months (three years), with no more than 18 months used for planning and program design and no more than two years used for initial implementation of the charter school.

The charter school must open within 18 months of the grant award in order to continue receiving federal funds.

Eligibility to Apply for Federal Charter Start-up Funds

Charter school developer(s) must have received authorization to establish a public charter school by the New Hampshire State Board of Education (see Charter School Authorization - Step 1).

In addition, applicants must demonstrate eligibility as a new charter school that has not previously existed. Schools that have received a federal charter startup subgrant under another school name are not eligible.

To be eligible to apply for start-up funding, applicants must meet the definition of a charter school. All grant applicants must demonstrate they meet the following federal definition of a "charter school" as outlined in Section 5210(1) of the ESEA.

The term "charter school" means a public school that:

a. In accordance with a specific State statute authorizing the granting of charters to schools, is exempt from significant State or local rules that inhibit the flexible operation and management of public schools, but not from any rules relating to the requirements in paragraphs 1 through 12 of this definition;

b. Is created by a developer as a public school, or is adapted by a developer from an existing public school, and is operated under public supervision and direction;

c. Operates in pursuit of a specific set of educational objectives determined by the school’s developer and agreed to by the authorized public chartering agency;

d. Provides a program of elementary or secondary education, or both;

e. Is nonsectarian in its programs, admissions policies, employment practices, and all other operations, and is not affiliated with a sectarian school or religious institution;

f. Does not charge tuition;

g. Complies with the Age Discrimination Act of 1975, title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, as amended, and part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;

h. Is a school to which parents choose to send their children, and that admits students on the basis of a lottery, if more students apply for admission than can be accommodated;

i. Agrees to comply with the same Federal and State audit requirements as do other elementary schools and secondary schools in the State, unless such requirements are specifically waived for the purpose of this program;

j. Meets all applicable Federal, State, and local health and safety requirements;

k. Operates in accordance with State law; and

l. Has a written performance contract with the authorized public chartering agency in the State that includes a description of how student performance will be measured in charter schools pursuant to State assessments that are required of other schools and pursuant to any other assessments mutually agreeable to the authorized public chartering agency and the charter school. 20 U.S.C. 7221i(1).

How to Apply for Federal Start-up Funds

  • Review the Charter School Startup Grant Application - Request For Proposal. The application provides the requirements to request federal start-up funds.
  • Develop a startup grant application and budget. The request for proposal, startup budget template and federal guidance (see resources below) will assist the applicant. Please also refer to "Requirements for Submitting an Application."

How may federal startup funds be used?

In order to determine allowable/unallowable expenditures during the start-up phase, please use the following as resources:

Requirements for Submitting an Application

  • Complete applications must include a table of contents and an original signature on the cover sheet (see Appendix B within the start-up grant application - request for proposal).
  • Application format: no less than 12-point font and all pages must be numbered. Applications shall not exceed 20 pages excluding relevant appendices.
  • Provide a three-year budget showing the federal funds requested and breakdown of activities for each expenditure category. Categories include: curriculum and instruction and assessment materials, books, supplies and materials, furniture and equipment, facility readiness, contracted services and professional development activites. Please also refer to the New Hampshire Department of Education Federal Funds Handbook and the New Hampshire Financial Accounting Handbook.

Applicants must submit the following:

  • One (1) original application and three copies to:

    Jane Waterhouse, Administrator
    Charter School Office
    New Hampshire Department of Education
    101 Pleasant Street
    Concord, NH 03301

  • One electronic copy of the complete application to: [email protected]

Review of Start-up Application

  • The Start-up Grant Application Evaluation Rubric is used to determine the quality of an application. Scoring is based on a 100-point scale across eight (8) components.
  • A review team, designated by the Department, evaluates the application.
  • The applicant shall be provided with written comments, including suggested amendments or modifications if the Department determines that amendments or modifications are needed.
  • The Department makes a decision to award or deny the applicant's request for federal start-up funds.
  • The Department will inform the applicant, in writing, of the decision.

Fiscal Requirements for a Newly Authorized Charter School

Federal start-up funds may not be allocated to a Foundation; the public charter school receives federal funds directly from the State of New Hampshire.

Charter schools operate as a nonprofit organization (under a "charter" granted by the New Hampshire State Board of Education) and shall register with the New Hampshire Secretary of State. Please note: A public charter school is not considered a government entity.

Prior to receiving federal startup funds, the applicant (charter school) shall review and complete the required start-up forms to include: State of New Hampshire Vendor Application and Alternate W-9, and signed General Assurances relating to federal funds.