No bill is perfect.  There is always something one thinks of at the end that needs tacked on. More minds are better than one….  Whereas SB 51 was pushed through too fast, and amendments were added at the last step, it makes sense to begin discussing them with this bill, HB 165 at its beginning….  The bill has a hearing before the House Education Committee on Wednesday at 2:30 ….

The members are:

Chairman:  Darryl M. Scott
Vice-Chairman: Kimberly Williams
Members: Michael A. Barbieri
Donald A. Blakey
Stephanie T. Bolden
Timothy D. Dukes
Debra J. Heffernan
Earl G. Jaques Jr
Harvey R. Kenton
John A. Kowalko Jr.
Joseph E. Miro
Edward S. Osienski
Charles Potter Jr.

That is what this thread is for….. Proposed Amendments to make it a solid piece of legislation.

The biggest issue with Charter Schools and why the issue is divisive is that Charter Schools take money away from public schools.   Many public schools are underfunded.  Decreasing their income further and giving that to Charter Schools, is controversial.

But, if no money gets taken away, then that issue becomes moot.  So hence this amendment.

(p) No new moneies being diverted to Charter Schools can come from the loss of any public school funding. Nor can they come from the closing of any pre-existing programs. All funds for Charter Schools must come from new assessed revenue that will be deposited within the State Treasury, which shall be increased by the amount expected to fund the Charter School’s demands.

If we want $50 million for Charter Schools, we increase the income tax on top earners to a percentage that gives us $50 million.  The funding for public schools is never touched and is completely independent upon whatever goes on with Charter Schools.

This way we can have our theoretical laboratory which tests out new ideas, and can implement the working ones into our public school system without penalizing the public school system to do so.

The top percentage doesn’t need their money.  If we need Charter Schools enough, that is where all Charter School funding should arise.  Not that school district’s property tax base.

There are enough votes in both the House and Senate to make this tiny change, which then moves us forward.

But, if we fail to do that… there are some alternatives not as pretty.

One, is to pick off the News Journal phrase, that since Charter Schools are Public Schools too, they should have teachers under the umbrella of the DSEA as well… So we should then add:

(q). All employees working for a Charter Organization, must be represented by the exact same union as their counterparts in the public school system.

This should help public and charter teachers communicate and spread ideas among themselves.  They will not be enemies trying to take each other’s job, but members of the same union having the exact same interests. ..

Another problem that has been expressed with this bill, is it is holding Charter Schools to an accountability that has not yet produced results.  It is new, and therefore experimental.

Therefore perhaps this wording change could clarify….

(r) The Charter School must meet all testing requirements expected of students in public schools.Their assessments shall be on the same test and taken during the same window of time.  All rules applying to Public Schools in regards to meeting the standards shall also apply to Charter Schools as well… 

Feel free to put more on the bottom.  I’ll move them up…   Keep in mind, we have 3 days.