All the anti-charter school provisions put on by the state House last week were adopted by the Senate today. Sen. Nancy Spence noted this was the first time in her 9 years of service that the School Finance Act bill didn't go to conference committee for review. Instead, the bill now goes to the Governor for his signature.
What does this mean for charter schools? The charter school capital construction fund was cut from $8.5 million down to $5 million. This pot of funds goes down on a per student basis each year as the number of charter school students increase. Charter schools will be lucky to get $100 per student next year, after receiving more than twice that last year. These funds were hijacked to fund the Online Education bill, which establishes a new division within the CO Dept of Education to oversee online education.
The School Finance Act bill, adopted earlier today, also restricts Charter School Institute board members from serving on charter school boards or being an employee of a charter school. Further, State Board of Education members cannot serve on charter school boards or be an employee of a charter school. These new provisions obviously restrict the influence of people involved in charter schools from impacting education reform. Not many years ago we saw the General Assembly and State Board of Education specifically require charter school representatives to serve on advisory committees. Times have changed for charter schools!