SB 516 (Obenshain), which creates regional charter schools, has been carried by for the year and will be taken back up by the Senate Finance Committee in 2019.
Senator Mark Obenshain’s bill allows the Board of Education to establish regional charter school divisions consisting of at least two but not more than three existing school divisions in regions where each school division has an enrollment of more than 3,000 students and where one or more schools have been denied accreditation for two of the past three years. SB 516 requires such regional charter school divisions to be supervised by a school board that consists of eight members appointed by the Board and one member appointed by the localities of each of the underlying divisions. The bill authorizes the school board, after a review by the Board, to review and approve public charter school applications in the regional charter school divisions and to contract with the applicant. The bill requires that the state share of Standards of Quality per pupil funding of the underlying school district in which the student resides be transferred to such school.
SB 516 was referred to the Senate Education and Health Committee, where it was heard on February 1. The bill was reported by a narrow 8-7 vote and rereferred to the Senate Finance Committee, where it was carried over to 2019 by a 16-0 vote.
VACo has historically opposed measures that would remove the authority from local school boards to make decisions about the establishment of charter schools.
VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.