Charter schools are here to stay, but a significant overhaul could happen soon.
A 2008 report by the Office of the Legislative Auditor recommended changes that would strengthen and clarify the ongoing responsibilities of school sponsors, improve their governance and fiscal accountability and clarify the Department of Education’s oversight role.
Sponsored by Rep. Linda Slocum (DFL-Richfield), HF935 would implement the recommendations and make other changes that supporters say would result in the most significant charter school reform since Minnesota became the first state in the nation to authorize them in 1991.
“Charters aren’t going away; therefore, wouldn’t it make some sense to make them more responsive and more responsible and better in our communities?” Slocum asked. “This bill represents a lot of compromise and months of work. It’s good policy; it represents good government.”
The bill has garnered bipartisan support, but still sparked debate March 4 in the House K-12 Education Policy and Oversight Committee over several amendments.
One successfully offered by Rep. Sandra Peterson (DFL-New Hope) would prohibit a charter school from locating near a district school that was closed within the previous 36 months. It surfaced tensions about the relationship between charters and traditional schools. Some members perceive charters as healthy competition that gives parents freedom of choice. Others fear charters and district schools can become like mom’s house and dad’s house in a divorce, when students — and the education dollars that follow them — shift from one to the other while the responsibility for their academic performance is lost.
“What the Peterson amendment does is start to put a framework in place for ending the war and focusing instead on the kids,” said Rep. Jim Davnie (DFL-Mpls).
Approved as amended, the bill now goes to the House Finance Committee. A companion, SF867, sponsored by Sen. Kathy Saltzman (DFL-Woodbury), is scheduled to be heard March 6 by the Senate Subcommittee on Charter Schools.
The year without a K-12 law
School funding is flat, no reforms enacted
(view full story) Published 6/1/2010
House K-12 omnibus bill fast-tracked
Senate slow to respond with companion legislation
(view full story) Published 5/13/2010
K-12 education omnibus bill stalls
Teacher licensure proposals in contention
(view full story) Published 5/6/2010
K-12 education bill moves forward
Measures would activate reforms, stabilize school funding
(view full story) Published 4/29/2010
Resuscitating Race to the Top bid
New bid could hinge on proposals to boost teacher effectiveness
(view full story) Published 4/22/2010
Raiders of the lost fund
Slew of reforms could boost Permanent School Fund income
(view full story) Published 3/25/2010
Schools shore up state’s checkbook
Obscure law forces drawdown of school reserves before state can borrow
(view full story) Published 2/25/2010
At Issue: No shifts, no cuts
Education funding in a holding pattern
(view full story) Published 5/29/2009
At Issue: E-12 education bill that might have been
Funding held steady with no shifts proposed, but no Minnesota Miracle
(view full story) Published 5/15/2009
At Issue: Investing in quality care for kids
Lawmakers hope for long-term benefits of early investment
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009
At Issue: Building a better formula
Omnibus K-12 education finance bill floor debate highlights obstacles
(view full story) Published 4/24/2009
At Issue: Whose values are they anyway?
Lawmaker carries on family legacy with sex education bill
(view full story) Published 4/17/2009
First Reading: One school doesn’t fit all
Efforts put forward to tailor charter school law
(view full story) Published 4/10/2009
At Issue: Hopeful education goals in a dismal year
Omnibus bill addresses changing needs and future demands
(view full story) Published 4/3/2009
At Issue: Getting kids to move
Bill aims to ensure ‘No child left on their behind’
(view full story) Published 2/20/2009
First Reading: Accountability funding for all
A ‘New Minnesota Miracle’ requires a leap of faith
(view full story) Published 2/13/2009
At Issue: Q Comp found wanting
Performance measure has perks, but is it affordable?
(view full story) Published 2/6/2009
At Issue: Reforming education, saving money
Bipartisan support shown for mandate reduction and shared services
(view full story) Published 1/23/2009
Feature: Passing the torch of democracy
Youth immerse themselves in lingo and actions of lawmaking
(view full story) Published 1/16/2009