TDOE Opens Applications for $5 Million Charter School Support & Expansion Grant

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 | 04:58pm


Grant Supports Charter Schools Across Tennessee


Nashville, TN—Today, the Tennessee Department of Education announced applications are open for an additional $5 million grant to support charter schools in Tennessee and expand the number of new high-quality charter school seats available to students across the state.  

The Charter School Support and Expansion Grant application can be found here and additional information here. The application deadline is March 22, 2021.  

This grant is funded through the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund and is the second GEER grant designed specifically to support charter schools. Through a competitive application process, subgrants will be awarded to eligible applicants in amounts ranging from $500,000- $1,000,000 each.  

"The Tennessee Department of Education is grateful to Governor Bill Lee for making education funding for all schools a top priority throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner Penny Schwinn. “The Charter School Support and Expansion Grant will provide additional investment to generate more high-quality seats in charter schools across the state and help more families access a high-quality education for their children.” 

The following entities are eligible to apply for the Charter School Expansion subgrants:  

  • A sponsor with no existing schools seeking to start a new charter school. 
  • An existing operator seeking to replicate an existing charter school. 
  • A charter management organization (CMO) seeking to start a new charter school. 
  • An education-related non-profit (including an education management organization), foundation or other organization seeking to start a new charter school. 

Under the scoring rubric, applicants will earn additional points for partnerships with local businesses, industries, or institutions of higher education. Additionally, applicants will earn additional points for proposing innovative models for new schools, such as STEM or CTE-based models to provide additional postsecondary opportunities to Tennessee students, and for proposing to start a charter school in a district that does not currently have any charter schools. 

Awardees are expected to apply to start a charter school in the next application cycle, which begins in December of 2021. Awarded funds will be available for reimbursement in phases as awardees complete certain milestones, such as submitting a letter of intent to start a charter school and a complete application. 

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

Last year, Governor Lee announced $63.6 million in GEER funding for K-12 schools, which included an initial $5 million charter school support grant to be distributed to charter schools across the state with a focus on supporting charter schools that demonstrate sustained and significant academic growth.  

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