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N.H. Sends $7 Million in Relief Funding to Virtual Charter School

Flickr/Ivan Radic

The state’s online charter school is getting $7 million in CARES Act funding, in response to a massive spike in enrollment during the pandemic.

The Exeter-based Virtual Learning Academy Charter School (VLACS) offers online classes to students in New Hampshire. Demand for VLACS classes tripled over the summer as families looked for options to remain remote this school year. Despite hiring more than 70 new teachers, VLACS says thousands of potential part-time students are still on the wait list.

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The state covers the cost of VLACS for students, and the anticipated increase in enrollment will cost millions of dollars.

Gov. Chris Sununu made the CARES funding announcement  Thursday, hours after the State Board of Education approved a request from VLACS CEO Steve Kossakoski to double the schools’ enrollment cap.

When board members asked Kossakoski whether doubling the cap would be sufficient given the long waitlist, he warned members about ballooning costs.

“Things could really get out of hand in terms of availability of funding,” he said.

Sarah Gibson joined NHPR's newsroom in 2018. She reports on education and demographics.

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