Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Senate Education Committee Hears Charter Schools Bill

The Senate Education Committee voted today to send a bill raising Idaho’s charter school cap to the full Senate. The bill, introduced by Senator John Goedde (R-Coeur d’Alene), would allow for additional charter petitions to be accepted should those charters serve traditionally underserved populations.

Senator Goedde introduced Senate Bill 1364 in relation to Idaho’s application for the competitive federal Race to the Top grant program. Education Secretary Arne Duncan has said that states have caps on the growth of charter schools would be at a competitive disadvantage of being awarded a grant from the $4.35 billion Race to the Top Fund. Idaho currently has a cap limiting the number of new public charter schools that can open in a year to six.

Superintendent Luna, a proponent of choice within public education, testified in favor of the bill. “If we pass this law, it will not hurt our ability to compete,” Luna told the committee. “It may help us get the extra few points we need if we are unsuccessful in being award in the first round and apply again in the future.”

The committee voted to send the bill to the amending order. The full text of Senate Bill 1364 can be found online here.

-Camille W.

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