Charter School Constitutional Amendments Introduced

January 17, 2017

HJ 629 (Bell, R.B.) and SJ 240 (Obenshain) would allow the state Board of Education to establish charter schools, subject to criteria and conditions that the General Assembly would prescribe. Currently this power rests with local school boards.

VACo has historically opposed such measures because they would allow a state body to make decisions that are more appropriately handled locally, potentially including decisions about the use of local school funding dollars, depending upon how a charter school would be structured under the “criteria and conditions” the General Assembly would dictate.

HJ 629 has been assigned to the House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments and was heard on January 16. VACo spoke in opposition to the measure. No vote was taken at the subcommittee meeting, as the full committee chairman has directed the subcommittee to hear testimony on all constitutional amendments before deciding which measures to recommend to the full committee. The subcommittee has been asked to forward no more than four amendments. SJ 240 has been assigned to the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.

VACo Members – please contact your legislators to oppose these bills. Last year, the same measures were defeated in the Senate on very close votes.

House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments: Minchew (Chairman), Miller, Hugo, Miyares, Lindsey, Price, Cole

Senate Privileges and Elections: Vogel (Chairman), Howell, Deeds, Edwards, Reeves, Ebbin, Chafin, DeSteph, Chase, Ruff, Cosgrove, Dance, Spruill, Peake

VACo Members – Share your thoughts on FlagPoll.

VACo Contact: Katie Boyle

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