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14 Grantees Share $25 Million in Funds from the Voluntary School Choice Program


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced today that 14 projects in 12 states will share $25 million in grants under No Child Left Behind’s Voluntary School Choice Program (VSCP) to help states and school districts create or expand public school choice initiatives.

“Parents know what’s best for their children. By giving families more choices and injecting a little competition into the system, we support innovations that help students and schools improve,” Spellings said.

The grantees—states, school districts or partnerships—are in Florida, Michigan, Oregon, Illinois, Texas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Alaska, and South Carolina. Seven grantees are also recipients from the first implementation of the program in 2002.

The VSCP is a competitive program that supports projects for up to five years that aim to offer the widest variety of choices to students in participating schools, including options that allow students to transfer from low-performing schools to higher performing schools, and projects that seek to implement an inter-district approach. Under No Child Left Behind, students in under-performing Title I schools must be given the option to transfer to a higher performing school in their school district, if their school has not met adequate yearly progress for two consecutive years.

Grantees develop the program with parental and community involvement, in concert with those who will carry out the program, including teachers, administrators and other staff. Some grantees use the first project year to plan and design the public school choice initiative.

To ensure the widest possible reach and participation, the funds can be used to help notify parents about the existence of the choice program, what the program offers and the program’s availability. A portion of the funds can be used to provide transportation (or the costs of transportation to and from public elementary, secondary or charter schools) for students selected to participate in the program.


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