SB -8 was approved by the House Finance Committee this morning and – from what I understand – may see a floor vote this afternoon.
In January lifting the charter school cap was a simple piece of legislation that most members of the majority could agree on. However along the way something happened. Lifting the cap turned into a comprehensive charter school bill. Working out the details produced lots of differences. In hopes of attracting bi-partisan support and sustaining an expected veto from Gov. Perdue, the bill includes a number of provisions which conservatives find difficult to stomach:
- The cap is not removed – merely lifted. Up to 50 new charter schools a year can be approved.
- Public Charter School Commission must submit its recommendations to the State Board of Education (SBE) for approval. SBE can veto any decision by PCSC with a two-thirds vote.
- Charter Schools are required to provide transportation and lunch services to students.
- SBE can close a charter school if the school has a performance composite below sixty percent in any three year period. (Traditional public schools are exempt from this standard.)
While conservatives have taken the medicine, the hoped for bipartisan support has yet to appear in the votes.