updated: 4/12/2011 7:01:49 PM

Senate Passes Charter School Bill

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

The Indiana Senate has approved legislation that could expand the number of charter schools in the state. In its current form, House Bill 1002 would create a statewide charter school sponsor and also allow private colleges and universities to open schools. The measure must be approved by the Indiana House before it can be signed by Governor Mitch Daniels.

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Source: Inside INdiana Business

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April 12, 2011

News Release

The Indiana Senate passed House Bill 1002 today, paving the way for increased access to high quality educational opportunities for all Hoosier students. Approved by a 29 to 20 vote, the bill expands the list of potential charter school sponsors while also establishing rigorous accountability standards for sponsors and schools.

“Indiana’s senators took a bold step in favor of quality options for all Hoosier students by passing HB 1002 today,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Bennett said. “By encouraging innovation and ensuring rigorous accountability, the men and women in the Indiana Senate have provided a template for responsible education reform that puts students first.”

The charter school model provides increased freedom for school leaders, educators and parents to work together to drive student growth. Indiana has 62 charter schools serving approximately 23,000 students, which is about 2 percent of Hoosier students. Currently, demand for spots in charter schools vastly exceeds availability.

“Right now, thousands of Hoosier children sit on charter school waiting lists. This legislation ensures these students will soon have greater access to more high quality schools that meet their individual needs,” Dr. Bennett said. “When Indiana’s students win, everybody wins; our workforce is strong and our economy grows.”

In addition to adding private non-propriety colleges and universities to the ranks of charter sponsors, HB 1002 creates a new statewide charter school sponsor, the Indiana Charter School Board. Its members will be appointed by the Governor, State Superintendent of Public Instruction and Indiana General Assembly. Currently, only public colleges and universities, the mayor of Indianapolis and public school corporations may sponsor charter schools.

By introducing stricter accountability, HB 1002 ensures the right types of charter schools will flourish across the state. Each charter school will be given a letter grade just like traditional public schools, and authorizers will face strict oversight from the State Board of Education (SBOE). If a charter school is deemed chronically failing and the sponsor does not address it, the SBOE may exercise a number of options, such as closing the school, transferring the sponsorship of the school, or reducing the administrative fees the sponsor can collect.

HB 1002 now moves back to the Indiana House for approval before heading to the desk of Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels.

Source: Indiana Department of Education

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