Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Is Charter Equity Fair?

Senate Bills 187 and 188 are designed to bring about equity for charter schools. SB 188 would require school districts to give an equal per pupil share of mill levy override funds to their charter schools. Most would think that all public school students should be funded in the same manner, but apparently three members of the Senate Education Committee disagreed when they voted against SB 188 last week.

President of the Jefferson County School Board, Ron Mitchell, spoke against the bill saying that the local board of education was better suited to make funding decisions than charter school board members. Even though Mr. Mitchell stated that Jeffco funds their charters equitably, public charter school students receive about 75% of the mill levy override funds given to the district.

SB 187 would clean up several provisions of the Charter Schools Act. For example, CSI schools are under the same legal requirements as the CSI board and thus two board members are not permitted to speak unless it is an open meeting. SB 187 would change this and allow CSI-authorized schools to operate with the same legal requirements as all district-authorized charter schools in the state, meaning that there would need to be three board members in order for it to be a public meeting.

Both bills passed our of the Senate Education Committee with all Republicans plus Sen. Mike Johnston (D-Denver) voting for the bill. Next, the bill will be heard by the full Senate on second reading.

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