Governor Lee, TDOE Announce $5 Million in Charter School Support Grants

Wednesday, November 04, 2020 | 12:06pm


Grants Support Family Choice and Charter Schools Demonstrating Academic Growth


NASHVILLE, TN—Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee Department of Education announced $5 million in grants to be distributed to charter schools across the state, with a focus on supporting charter schools that demonstrate sustained and significant academic growth. 

This charter school support grant is funded through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund (GEER). Every charter school will be awarded a per-pupil allocation based on 2020 school enrollment. These formula grants will total $2.5 million. An additional $2.5 million will be allocated amongst charter schools based on their demonstration of significant academic growth, as measured by their 2019 Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (TVAAS) performance for specific content areas and student populations. 

More information about the Charter School Support Grants and application can be found in ePlan. This is the first grant opportunity released in response to the COVID-19 pandemic specifically for charter schools. An additional round of grant funding to support expanding charter schools is expected to be released in coming months.  

"Tennessee's charter sector provides many families across the state with the opportunity to make the best choice for their child’s education—an opportunity they would not otherwise have,” said Gov. Bill Lee. “This grant will help to ensure Tennesseans continue to have access to high-quality school options by supporting schools that have demonstrated strong student growth. As our state continues to navigate challenges to our education system presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have made millions of dollars in grant money and protective resources available to districts and schools, and this is one more way we can support schools in serving students through this time.” 

Grant award amounts will be allocated using 2020 enrollment and a school-specific “growth multiplier,” which is calculated based on the combination of five performance criteria drawn from the following areas of TVAAS performance: 

  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for schoolwide literacy 
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for schoolwide numeracy  
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for English language learners student group 
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for students with disabilities student group 
  • 2019 Level 4 or 5 for economically disadvantaged student group 

"As educators, families and students navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to Governor Lee for making education funding a top priority,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “This Charter School Support Grant is an important measure to support our strong public charter school sector and ensure families continue to have access to high-quality school options.” 

The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund was created by Congress as part of the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act. The U.S. Department of Education awards GEER funds based on a formula as laid out in the legislation. 

Governor Lee previously announced $61 million in CARES funding for K-12 schools, which included releasing $11 million for grants to local education agencies (LEA) to support reopening efforts. An additional $50 million has been made available to support technology grants that can be used on wi-fi devices, laptops, or any other devices needed to support reopening. 

For additional information on the department’s COVID-19 and school reopening related resources, please visit For Tennessee Department of Education media inquiries, contact