Tag Archives: for-profit

For-Profit Charter Schools Bill Resurrected in Senate

Even though for-profit charter school companies targeted the Tennessee legislature with several lobbyists this year, their agenda appeared dead until a last-minute bid slid through last week, reports The Tennessean.
The plan to allow for-profit charter schools in Tennessee twice failed in Senate committees this year. But an eleventh-hour change to a noncontroversial bill originally created to clean up a few charter school rules started the debate again.
The newest plan is sponsored by Sen. Dolores Gresham, R-Somerville, and is headed to a full Senate vote after last week sailing through the Senate Education Committee that she chairs. It has not been placed on the voting calendar yet.
…When she offered her changes to colleagues, Gresham said “As we all know, charter schools are an important part of ongoing education reform. Now that we see the real value of charter schools, now we have one more step.”
A spokesman for the Tennessee School Boards Association believes lobbyists can take some credit for the amendment Gresham introduced to allow for-profit companies. The original bill that Gresham chose to amend is Senate Bill 205; it has a counterpart in House Bill 315.
The House bill will be considered by the Finance, Ways & Means Subcommittee on Wednesday. At that time, a representative on the committee can offer an amendment similar to Gresham’s. The House bill was originally sponsored by Rep. Harry Brooks, R-Knoxville, who chairs the House Education Committee.

For-Profit Charter Schools Bill Fails in Senate Committee

A bill from Sen. Todd Gardenhire that would let for-profit companies run and manage public charter schools failed to make the grade in the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday, reports the Chattanooga TFP.
The bill failed, getting just two votes, including the Chattanooga Republican lawmaker’s own vote, while one colleague said no and three others abstained.
Gardenhire earlier told the panel the bill is intended to help charter schools, which are run by nonprofit groups but funded with tax dollars. Often, they are started by parents, teachers, churches or other groups.
“As you all know, when the charter school starts up, the hardest year is the first year and sometimes it’s not easy to get competent administrators or people who know how to do the mechanics of starting a school,” Gardenhire explained. “This would allow well-meaning people who set up a charter school to go outside and hire people to manage it. That’s not to say everybody’s not competent.”
While charter schools can contract out some services like cleaning or food service to for-profit vendors, they currently are not allowed to contract out management services to them.