redefinED roundup: Charter schools in Texas, voucher funding in Louisiana, school choice in South Carolina & more

Texas: House lawmakers approve a plan to expand charter schools statewide (Associated Press).

MondayRoundUp_yellaPennsylvania: The state’s director of open records says  charter schools are the No. 1 violator of the law (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review). Philadelphia public school officials recommend closing Discovery Charter School due to a dispute over enrollment caps and other concerns (NewsWorks). The School Reform Commission approved the renewal of five charter school contracts, with all agreeing to abide by a new enrollment cap (The Notebook).

Louisiana: State Superintendent John White warns of the fallout from the recent Supreme Court ruling on voucher funding, revealing the state needs to find an extra $29 million for the current school year (Times-Picayune). White also contends that the ruling will result in a $12 million refund for the public school system (Shreveport Times). More from Education Week. Charter Schools USA and National Heritage Academies look to build four charter schools in the Lafayette Parish (The Advertiser). The education department received applications for more than 100 charter schools (Times-Picayune).

Ohio: Lawmakers introduce a bill that would require Columbus schools’ property-tax dollars be shared with charters, and give the mayor the power to sponsor charter schools (Columbus Dispatch).

Maine: Democrats push bills that impose a moratorium on virtual charter schools and require charter schools function as nonprofit organizations (Bangor Daily News). More from the Kennebec Journal. The Education Committee votes along party lines to reject virtual schools (Portland Press Herald). Gov.  Paul LePage wants to allow colleges and universities to authorize charter schools (Maine Public Broadcasting Network).

Florida: A magnet elementary school is considering becoming a charter school to save arts and music classes from district budget cuts (redefinED). A bill that won approval on the last day of the legislative session will open up public school funding to private virtual schools (Tampa Bay Times). Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says he miscalculated the impact that funding for charter schools would have on next year’s school budget (First Coast News).

Alabama: Gov. Robert Bentley wants a two-year delay on private school tax credit scholarships (Associated Press). More from the Birmingham News. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh vows to reject the tax credit delay (Montgomery Advertiser).

Illinois: School superintendents join forces with lawmakers to propose a one-year moratorium on new virtual charter schools (Daily Herald). United Neighborhood Organization charter schools relies heavily on funding from the state and loans, a newspaper analysis finds (Chicago Sun-Times).

Washington, D.C.: Charter schools turn to a relatively new concept in education – crowdfunding – to help raise dollars for facilities (Washington Post).

Minnesota: Educators want to allow Minneapolis Public Schools to operate more like charter schools (Minnesota Public Radio.)

California: Nine more San Fernando Valley district schools may convert to affiliated charters, which allows them to continue receiving district services (Daily News).

New York: For the third year in a row, there are more than 50,000 families waiting for a seat at one of the city’s public charter schools (New York Daily News). Charter school operator Eva Moskowitz is firing another salvo in her ongoing war with Democratic mayoral hopeful Bill de Blasio (New York Daily News). The Bronx has 24,647 families applying to charter schools – the most of any borough in the city (New York Daily News). When a community learned that its Ukrainian Catholic school was closing, an independent Catholic school was born (Auburn Citizen).

Maryland: School board receives seven charter school applications, including two for all-girls schools and one for an all-male college prep program (The Baltimore Sun).

Oklahoma: Proposed legislation would allow public school districts the same ability as charter schools to opt out of some state mandates (Tulsa World).

Delaware: The Senate passes a school choice bill that creates a uniform system for school choice applications, making the process easier for parents to navigate (Associated Press).

Nevada: Gov. Brian Sandoval wants to give tax breaks to Nevada businesses that donate to tax credit scholarships for low-income children to attend private schools (Associated Press).

Wisconsin: Republican lawmakers push to expand school vouchers statewide – beyond what Gov. Scott Walker recommended (Wisconsin Public Radio). A recent poll shows voters are split on vouchers with 48 percent in favor of expansion and 44 percent wanting to end the program (Fox 11). School vouchers help boost student performance (Wisconsin Reporter). A voucher advocate, who helped Wisconsin become the first state in the nation to have a school voucher program, blasts Gov. Scott Walker’s plans for expanding it (Journal-Sentinel).

Indiana: Ball State University pulls its sponsorship of five charter schools (State Impact).

Utah: Charter schools will get more scrutiny now with new evaluations on finances, academics and governance (Salt Lake Tribune).

South Carolina: The Senate prepares to tackle school choice proposal this week that would give parents tax deductions, depending on whether their children attend private school, are homeschooled or go to a public school that’s outside their regular zone (The State).

North Carolina: A renewed attempt to funnel more money to charter schools is likely put to bed for the legislative session (Winston-Salem Journal).

Montana: Lawmakers failed to pass a bill calling for tax credits or any public money for private or  charter schools, but they say they’re not giving up (Billings Gazette).

Connecticut: Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ’s year-old education reform program appears out of danger concerning loss of support in the upcoming two-year budget (New Haven Register).


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BY Sherri Ackerman

Sherri Ackerman is the former associate editor of redefinED. She is a former correspondent for the Tampa Bay Times and reporter for The Tampa Tribune, writing about everything from cops and courts to social services and education. She grew up in Indiana and moved to Tampa as a teenager, graduating from Brandon High School and, later, from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications/news editing. Sherri passed away in March 2016.