NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — A measure that seeks to change the approval process for charter schools in Tennessee has failed this session.
The proposal seemed poised for a vote on the Senate floor on Friday, the last day of the session. But Republican Senate sponsor Dolores Gresham of Somerville withdrew it after she concluded she didn’t have the votes to pass it.
The House passed the companion 62-30 on Thursday.
The measure had gone through at least three versions during the General Assembly.
Under the proposal, the state Board of Education would have been able to overrule local school board decisions on charter applications in five counties where there are failing schools.
They are: Davidson, Hamilton, Knox, Shelby and Hardeman counties.
Currently, local school boards decide whether to authorize a charter application.
Note: The Tennessee Charter Schools Association was not happy. News release below.
News release from Tennessee Charter Schools Association:
Nashville, Tn. — The Tennessee Charter Schools Association (TCSA) released the following statement upon the Senate’s refusal to hear HB 702/SB 830, the charter school authorizer reform bill:
“Along with our partners in education reform, TCSA is disappointed that the Senate refused to vote on SB 830 (HB 702) today. Unfortunately, the concept of broadening educational options for Tennessee students has once again become the victim of politics, despite thoughtful consideration over the bill through ten committees and passage in the House yesterday with a vote of 62 to 30. This legislation, which earlier in April received funding in the Governor’s budget, has been championed throughout the legislative session by education reform stakeholders including the Tennessee Charter Schools Association, Students First – Tennessee, Stand for Children – Tennessee, and Democrats for Education Reform – Tennessee.
“Strong public charter schools are leading successful education reform in our state, with many delivering the best results of all Tennessee public schools. This bill sought to strengthen the charter school authorization process, drawing the focus of decisions toward merit and expanding the possibility of excellent public charter schools throughout the state.
“TCSA is grateful for the strong leadership of House Speaker Beth Harwell, Representative Mark White, Representative Harry Brooks and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean in supporting this bill and working tirelessly to improve educational options in Tennessee. We will continue to work with community and state leadership toward improvements in the law that will make great public charter schools a possibility for Tennessee families in need of options.”
The Tennessee Charter Schools Association, founded in 1998, serves quality public charter schools by educating communities, empowering supporters, and promoting legislation to create an educational landscape of excellent options for all students.