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Denver charter schools that received federal COVID-related small business loans last spring won’t need to forgo any future funding to make up for the $16 million in forgivable loans they received, district and charter officials said.
An earlier agreement implied such a reconciliation would happen. It was never clear how the arrangement would work, only that the district would analyze whether the loans had created funding inequities between charter schools and traditional public schools — and that the two would work to offset any gap.
But in light of an influx of other federal education relief, Denver Public Schools decided not to pursue the reconciliation.
“It’s not the same priority and not in the crosshairs as much as it was initially,” said Grant Guyer, who oversees charter schools for the district.
Guyer added that the district’s lawyers advised that Denver Public Schools has no legal authority to make charters reconcile the funding.
The forgivable loans were made under the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which the first federal coronavirus relief bill created. The goal was to help small businesses stay afloat and keep their workers employed during the pandemic.
Across the country, charter and private schools got $6 billion in paycheck protecting funding, according to Education Week. Charter school critics nationally balked at the independent public schools getting federal stimulus money that wasn’t available to traditional public schools.