TASB Legislative Update
April 13, 2011
Senate Passes Charter Expansion Bill
The Senate on Wednesday passed SB 127 (Patrick, Dan), which would expand the number of and provide fewer restrictions to opening new charter schools.
An amendment was adopted on the Senate floor to replace charter in many instances with license. The bill, as passed, would:
- require those seeking to open a charter school to apply for a provisional license that would be issued by the State Board of Education. The provisional license holder would have to meet certain accountability standards before being awarded a charter after three years;
- allow for an additional 10 licenses per year in addition to the current cap of 215;
- allow the SBOE to award an additional number of charters to replace any revoked charters;
- allow the opening of two new charter schools that educate students with disabilities;
- authorize the commissioner of education to impose penalties on any charter holder that violates any rule or statute that pertains to charter schools;
- require that new charters only accept students that attended public schools in Texas the year prior to seeking acceptance to a charter school;
- increase the commissioner of education’s authority to revoke a charter/license; and
- allow charter holders to establish additional campuses without seeking TEA approval.
Of course, this is not the time to expand charter schools, which are also publicly funded, while the legislature is ordering significant cuts to public school funding.