SENATE P&E ADVANCES CHARTER SCHOOL CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

Amendment would allow state to create charter schools without community input or approval


RICHMOND — This afternoon, the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections voted along party lines to advance a bill and resolutions that would together allow the state Board of Education to unilaterally create charter schools anywhere in the Commonwealth, potentially without the blessing or input of local communities. The measures — sponsored by Sens. Mark Obenshain (R - Rockingham) and David Suetterlein (R - Roanoke) — seek to amend the state constitution; if approved by the full Senate and the House, the proposed amendment would go before voters this November in a referendum.

Said Sen. Janet Howell (D - Fairfax) “Every child deserves access to a great education. By cutting out local school boards and parents, these proposals would move us away from — not towards — that goal. Instead of chipping away at public education, we should fully fund our schools and fairly pay our teachers.”

Said Sen. Adam Ebbin (D - Alexandria) “Local school boards are in the best position to decide when and how to establish charter schools. Those choices should be made by parents and local school boards — not by people in Richmond.”

BACKGROUND

The proposal comprised Sen. Obenshain’s SJ 6 and Sens. Suetterlein’s and Obenshain’s SB 588 and SJ 93. All three were voted upon in a bloc, and reported in a 7-6 party-line vote.

Among others, the Virginia Association of Counties, the Virginia Education Association, the Virginia School Boards Association, and the Virginia Association of School Superintendents all oppose and testified against the proposal.

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