Joan's interview with Rep. Solcum
Major points Slocum touched on regarding HF0935
Bill requires more of charter school sponsors:
• Changes the language to authorizer
• Requires greater over site of finances, academic outcomes, and human resources issues. In exchange for extra supervisor burden, the bill increases the fee that authorizers receive to $30/pupil.
Bill offers a few new administrative models from which charter schools may select.
Changes the composition of individual charter school boards:
• Current law requires board to be comprised of majority teachers. Slocum said that many teachers complained about this burden. It is advantageous for teachers to serve on the boards, however the current requirement places undue burden on teachers. Further, effective boards require individuals with diverse skill sets, particularly administrative and finance expertise.
Both House and Senate bills contain provisions that prevent new charter schools from opening with a defined radius of a closed public school or consolidated school district for 12 months. The Senate bill and House originally set the time limit at 36 months. According the Slocum, at the request of charter school interest groups, she was able to work with senate to negotiate this number down to 12 months.
Current difference between House (HF0935) and Senate (SF 867) versions:
• Some advocate for a cap on the total amount a single authorizer may receive. Senate bill currently has this provision, House bill does not. Slocum is working with Senate to remove this from SF867. This will prevent successful authorizers with proven/quality charter school models from expanding the number of sites/students they can serve.
• Senate is pushing for a moratorium or cap on the number of charter schools in the state. Slocum strongly disagrees with this. Referenced Obama’s recent statement encouraging the replication of charter schools that work.
Some advocate for a cap on the total amount a single authorizer may receive. Senate bill currently has this provision, House bill does not. Slocum is working with Senate to remove this from SF867.
Senate is pushing for a moratorium or cap on the number of charter schools in the state. Slocum strongly disagrees with this. Referenced Obama’s recent statement encouraging the replication of charter schools that work
She is confident that the Republican block will vote for it. Has faced greater resistance from democrats.
Really displeased with Education Minnesota. Felt they tried to hijack charter school reform movement to push their anti-charter school agenda.
Disapointed with resistence to charter school reform on behalf of Democrats. HF 0935, according to Slocum, promotes over site and accountability to encourage success in charter schools. Believes that charter schools function to foster innovation and have a legitimate place. Would like to see the New Schools Commission (bill will probably die) or charter school advisory bill that she proposes serve a vehicle to share best practices and replicate successful models.
Slocum was a former public school teacher and pro-union. Displeased that the teachers union writes off the charter school movement in total.