Friday, April 16, 2010

Bill to save charter schools money advances to Senate floor

Charter schools are one step closer to being able to pool their resources and save money, thanks to a proposal by school choice advocate Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs.

"We all want to see more money in the classroom, and this allows charter schools that opportunity," King said. "The less money we are spending on things like snow removal, the more money we can spend on students."

Under King's proposal, Senate Bill 161, charter schools would be able to contract with one another or a board of collaborative services to share costs on things like snow removal, academic programs and administrative overhead. Charter schools could also work together to apply for federal grants and deliver special education services to their students.

Boards of Cooperative Educational Services already exist between districts, but charter schools are not included in these agreements. King's bill was opposed by liberal education groups like the Colorado Association of School Executives (CASE), the Colorado Association of School Boards (CASB) and the teachers union.

"One of the chief complaints against charter schools is that they don’t do a good enough job serving at risk children," King said. "But under my bill charters will be better positioned to serve at risk students. It is ironic that groups like CASE, CASB and the teachers union say they want what is best for schools and students, but then turn around and oppose this policy."

SB 161 passed out of the Senate Education Committee with bi-partisan support on a 6 to 2 vote. Liberal Democrat Sens. Rollie Heath and Evie Hudak opposed the bill, which is now headed to the Senate floor for debate.

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