COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina has won a federal grant to open and expand public charter schools that could total $30 million over five years.

State schools Superintendent Molly Spearman says South Carolina is among just eight states awarded a grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s charter schools program. Twenty-seven states applied for the money.

South Carolina is slated to receive $15 million of the $125 million being distributed nationwide this fiscal year. The state’s education agency could receive as much as $30.4 million over five years through the program.

Charter schools are public schools that must meet all state and federal accountability laws but have greater flexibility. More than 30,000 students attend a charter school in South Carolina.

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