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Delaware General Assembly Passes Charter School Reform

Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | News | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013



Increases accountability for charter performance and builds on year of education improvements advocated by Governor Markell

Dover, DE – To significantly  update Delaware’s charter school laws for the first time since 1995, the Senate today passed legislation, advocated by Governor Jack Markell, to better support high-performing  charter schools while making it harder for low-performing ones to exist in Delaware. House Bill 165 includes measures to better support charters that effectively serve the state’s highest-need populations.  Today’s 17-4 vote came after House approval by a 31-9 margin on June 11.

Passage of these reforms follows the signing of two other major pieces of the Governor’s education agenda this month: House Bill 90 simplifies the school choice process, and Senate Bill 51 requires higher standards for the state’s teacher preparation programs and licensure. In addition, the Governor’s budget proposal would add $31 million in public education funding.

“Changing the status quo is never easy. I appreciate the hard work of the General Assembly to craft a bill that holds our charter schools accountable for their results, while ensuring we support those that improve opportunities for our students,” said Markell. “By better preparing our teachers, making the school choice system easier for families to navigate and improving our charter school system, we have made significant strides toward giving all of Delaware’s students the quality education they deserve.”

HB 165 raises the bar for starting a charter school, provides increased flexibility and support for high-performing charter schools, and sets and enforces consistent expectations. This legislation is the result of years of discussion among policymakers and leaders in the state’s education community.

“The changes in this bill build on the lessons we’ve learned since we started the charter school program in Delaware,” said Senator David Sokola, D-Newark, who guided the measure through the Senate. “This not only addresses some longstanding funding concerns but takes steps to build a stronger network of charter schools in Delaware.”

“After 18 years, this bill significantly moves us forward and does what is best for all children no matter where they go to school,” said Representative Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow).

With the Governor’s signature, the law will:

  • Raise the bar for starting charter schools with a pre-screening process, applicant interviews, and additional opportunities to receive and use public input regarding the impact of new and expanded charter schools.
  • Increase charter flexibility and support, with ten year terms for high-performing charters (while retaining a five-year midpoint review), clear allowance of conduit financing, equalized minor capital funding, and creation of a charter school performance fund for high-performing charters, particularly those looking to expand the number of high-need students they serve.
  • Set and enforces consistent expectations for charter schools, with authorizer-charter agreements, required board member training, required provision of breakfast and lunch to eligible students, clear closure protocols and a renewal process aligned to the charter performance framework.
  • Ensure orderly closures of failed charters, by requiring all charter schools to maintain enough cash to pay their bills through the end of each academic year and to establish and follow protocols for orderly closure.

“HB 165 addresses concerns that have surfaced over the 18 years since passage of the Charter School Law,” said Frederika Jenner, President of the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA). “During the debate, members of the General Assembly raised concerns that will be addressed by the Enrollment Preference Task Force established by HB 90. DSEA looks forward to participating in that effort with an eye toward ensuring that all Delaware students have a fair and equal chance to attend public schools regardless of whether their school of choice is a community public school or a charter public school.”

“We’d like to recognize Governor Markell, Representative Earl Jaques, Senator Dave Sokola and members of the General Assembly for their leadership in the passage of House Bill 165,” said Chuck Taylor, President of the Delaware Charter Schools Network. “The bill’s success demonstrates the positive impact of charter education in our state, as well as the willingness of all involved to further the advancement of Delaware’s public school children.”

“The State Board of Education has been working over the last two years on strengthening charter authorizer standards, practices, and procedures that will result in an educational portfolio that includes more high performing schools and less poorly performing schools in Delaware, “ said  Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, President, State Board of Education.  “ We are pleased that the General Assembly has passed HB165 and firmly believe that this is a much needed first step in further strengthening these authorizer practices.”

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Delaware General Assembly Passes Charter School Reform

Former Governor Jack Markell (2009-2017) | News | Office of the Governor | Date Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2013



Increases accountability for charter performance and builds on year of education improvements advocated by Governor Markell

Dover, DE – To significantly  update Delaware’s charter school laws for the first time since 1995, the Senate today passed legislation, advocated by Governor Jack Markell, to better support high-performing  charter schools while making it harder for low-performing ones to exist in Delaware. House Bill 165 includes measures to better support charters that effectively serve the state’s highest-need populations.  Today’s 17-4 vote came after House approval by a 31-9 margin on June 11.

Passage of these reforms follows the signing of two other major pieces of the Governor’s education agenda this month: House Bill 90 simplifies the school choice process, and Senate Bill 51 requires higher standards for the state’s teacher preparation programs and licensure. In addition, the Governor’s budget proposal would add $31 million in public education funding.

“Changing the status quo is never easy. I appreciate the hard work of the General Assembly to craft a bill that holds our charter schools accountable for their results, while ensuring we support those that improve opportunities for our students,” said Markell. “By better preparing our teachers, making the school choice system easier for families to navigate and improving our charter school system, we have made significant strides toward giving all of Delaware’s students the quality education they deserve.”

HB 165 raises the bar for starting a charter school, provides increased flexibility and support for high-performing charter schools, and sets and enforces consistent expectations. This legislation is the result of years of discussion among policymakers and leaders in the state’s education community.

“The changes in this bill build on the lessons we’ve learned since we started the charter school program in Delaware,” said Senator David Sokola, D-Newark, who guided the measure through the Senate. “This not only addresses some longstanding funding concerns but takes steps to build a stronger network of charter schools in Delaware.”

“After 18 years, this bill significantly moves us forward and does what is best for all children no matter where they go to school,” said Representative Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow).

With the Governor’s signature, the law will:

  • Raise the bar for starting charter schools with a pre-screening process, applicant interviews, and additional opportunities to receive and use public input regarding the impact of new and expanded charter schools.
  • Increase charter flexibility and support, with ten year terms for high-performing charters (while retaining a five-year midpoint review), clear allowance of conduit financing, equalized minor capital funding, and creation of a charter school performance fund for high-performing charters, particularly those looking to expand the number of high-need students they serve.
  • Set and enforces consistent expectations for charter schools, with authorizer-charter agreements, required board member training, required provision of breakfast and lunch to eligible students, clear closure protocols and a renewal process aligned to the charter performance framework.
  • Ensure orderly closures of failed charters, by requiring all charter schools to maintain enough cash to pay their bills through the end of each academic year and to establish and follow protocols for orderly closure.

“HB 165 addresses concerns that have surfaced over the 18 years since passage of the Charter School Law,” said Frederika Jenner, President of the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA). “During the debate, members of the General Assembly raised concerns that will be addressed by the Enrollment Preference Task Force established by HB 90. DSEA looks forward to participating in that effort with an eye toward ensuring that all Delaware students have a fair and equal chance to attend public schools regardless of whether their school of choice is a community public school or a charter public school.”

“We’d like to recognize Governor Markell, Representative Earl Jaques, Senator Dave Sokola and members of the General Assembly for their leadership in the passage of House Bill 165,” said Chuck Taylor, President of the Delaware Charter Schools Network. “The bill’s success demonstrates the positive impact of charter education in our state, as well as the willingness of all involved to further the advancement of Delaware’s public school children.”

“The State Board of Education has been working over the last two years on strengthening charter authorizer standards, practices, and procedures that will result in an educational portfolio that includes more high performing schools and less poorly performing schools in Delaware, “ said  Dr. Teri Quinn Gray, President, State Board of Education.  “ We are pleased that the General Assembly has passed HB165 and firmly believe that this is a much needed first step in further strengthening these authorizer practices.”

###

image_printPrint

Related Topics:  , , ,


Graphic that represents delaware news on a mobile phone

Keep up to date by receiving a daily digest email, around noon, of current news release posts from state agencies on news.delaware.gov.

Here you can subscribe to future news updates.