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Walton charity pledges $1.2M for Indy charters

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Five new charter schools in Indianapolis could benefit from as much as $1.2 million donated by the Walton Family Foundation.

The Arkansas-based charity, formed by Wal-Mart Stores founder Sam Walton, will run a competition to award grants to five community organizations that want to start charter schools.

Charters are publicly funded schools that are allowed to make their own decisions about curriculum, hiring, firing and other matters, apart from many local and state regulations. Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and his predecessor Bart Peterson have approved 23 existing charter schools in Indianapolis.

The new initiative, called CEOs for New Schools, will award a $12,000 matching grant to each successful community organization to help it develop plans for a charter school. Then, if those plans are approved by Ballard’s office, each organization can receive another $225,000 from the Walton Family Foundation to cover start-up expenses.

Charters receive roughly $7,000 each year from the state Legislature for each student they enroll.
 

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