Walton Family Foundation Surpasses $300 Million in Startup Investments; Expands Parental Choice through New, High-Quality Charter Schools
Demand for high-quality school options leads largest private funder of charter school startups to support the creation of 1,437 schools since 1997
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Jan. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the largest private funder of charter school startups announced that it has surpassed $300 million invested to expand parent choice by increasing the number of new, high-quality school options. Investments by the Walton Family Foundation have supported the creation of 1,437 schools since 1997. This milestone is driven by nearly $29 million in startup investments in 2012, supporting 111 new schools that will open in the coming years. The foundation invests in programs and organizations that expand parental choice and equal opportunity in education.
Startup grants have helped the charter school movement grow to serve more than two million students in 5,600 schools across the United States. There are an additional 610,000 students on waiting lists to attend the charter school of their choice. The majority of recent startup grants are focused in the foundation's 16 investment sites, specifically in school districts that serve a large percentage of underserved communities with a sizeable number of low-performing schools. The foundation also provides start-up funding to private schools that are serving students on publicly funded vouchers and tax credit scholarships across those 16 investment sites.
"High-performing public charter schools are growing rapidly to meet the demands of families across the United States," said Ed Kirby, deputy director of the foundation's K-12 Education Reform Focus Area. "The charter school movement is a dramatic example of how we can redefine American public education as a choice-based system in which parents are directly empowered to choose from a growing field of new, high-quality school options. Much like publicly funded vouchers, digital learning options and traditional school system choice programs, charter schools are helping set the standard for choice-based education reform. "
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