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State Senate Charter School Proposal Faces Criticism

Some education advocates are criticizing a state Senate proposal to revamp how public charter schools start, expand and receive funding because it would remove a check on the growth of the alternative schools.

A plan before a key legislative committee would allow charter schools to increase their enrollment without the approval of the school district that first authorized their charter.

David Lapp is a former charter school teacher and now a staff attorney with the Education Law Center.

He says school districts are the proper entities to authorize charter schools because the districts must ensure that all students are educated, including the students with the greatest needs.

"School districts are, you know, they’re charged exactly with that under the law that their job is to ensure that all students receive a quality education," Lapp said. "When charters expand without any management, it concentrates those student groups more heavily in school districts and gives them less funding and less ability to adequately serve them."

The proposal’s sponsor says the plan is meant to make it easier for charters to grow, while increasing accountability – for instance, requiring audits.

He says the bill ensures the schools will accept at-risk students.

The Education Law Center says such language needs to be more explicit.

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