These are our most frequently asked questions. Don’t see your question here? Feel free to contact us.
What financial support does the CityBridge fellowship offer founders?
CityBridge provides stipends or grants to entrepreneurs that are comparable in scale to compensation earned by school principals. Designing and developing a school is a full-time job, and we want to make it possible for entrepreneurs to devote themselves completely to this work. Entrepreneurs are expected to purchase health insurance and other benefits with this funding. In addition, CityBridge sets aside roughly $25K each for entrepreneurs to purchase services (e.g., accounting) and professional development that will enable them to create a school.
How long is the incubation period?
As long as entrepreneurs are making good progress toward achieving the aims of their project, the initial funding lasts for a year. If the entrepreneur wins charter approval, CityBridge will provide additional funding. Entrepreneurs with approved charters are eligible for funding from other sources as well.
What are backgrounds of past founders selected to work with CityBridge?
Past founders have had substantial track records as education leaders, often as principals. CityBridge is also interested in finding leaders outside of education who may have a passion for creating transformational opportunities for students — which is one reason why we are making it possible for duos to apply for this opportunity. One member of the duo might have a background in education, and the other may be a leader in another field entirely.
If I do not have a co-founder, may I still apply?
While we give preference to strong duos, we also welcome applications from single individuals. Schools have to be developed and established by teams, however, so during the vetting process, CityBridge will ask individual candidates about what they will need in teammates and inquire as to who they might already have in mind. And all entrepreneurs, even duos, will be required to build out their founding teams during the incubation process.
How long have founders been working on their models before coming to CityBridge?
Most of the entrepreneurs in our current cohort have been actively working on their school models for more than a year. Some have prototyped their models before applying — by creating pop-ups or pilots (e.g., spring-break day camps) — that allow them to test their riskiest assumptions and make adjustments. While doing so is not required before applying, we believe that these experiences smooth the development of a project.
Does CityBridge only work with individuals who want to start charter schools? What if an entrepreneur wants to create a district school?
CityBridge has a long history of partnering with DC Public Schools (the traditional public school system in D.C.) and with schools in the charter sector. What matters most to us is quality, not method of governance. However, because DCPS is currently undergoing a leadership transition, we are holding off working with them on the development of new school models. Should DCPS’ new leadership, which should be on board by early 2019, express interest in partnership, we will thoroughly explore this option.
When are applications due to the Public Charter School Board (PCSB)?
For school founders whom we will select in May 2019, applications are due in January 2020. (In the past, they were due in March of every year). The PCSB plans to announce which applications are approved in March 2020.
After being approved for a charter how long until school doors open?
Because of the challenge of securing appropriate facilities before having a charter approved, it generally takes until the fall of the following year before school doors open. So, for this cycle, should the entrepreneur get a charter approved, school doors would not open until fall 2021.
How are public charter schools funded?
Charter schools receive annual funding for every enrolled student. In 2018-19, the base level of funding for each student is $10,658. This foundation amount is adjusted depending on the grade of the student. So, for example, a school receives $14,282 for every student enrolled in its pre-K classrooms, because teacher-student ratios in early childhood are higher than in other grades.
In addition, charter schools receive a facilities allotment of $3,263 per student.
More information can be found here (see appendix B).
I’m not sure CityBridge is the best next step for me. Where may I go for earlier stage resources to support launching a schools?
Reach out to us here, and we’ll set up a time to talk with you. We can help you decide whether you would be a good fit to work with CityBridge and guide you to other organizations that work with early stage entrepreneurs in the education field.