Charter schools could be streamlined
Nevada Appeal Staff Writer
The performance and funding of charter schools, including two in Carson City, would be regulated more closely under an Assembly bill considered in a committee Monday.
The bill, AB26, could be one of a number of steps the Legislature could take to streamline the charter school system.
Members of the Assembly Committee on Education seemed to support most of the bill that would allow the state to discipline charter schools even if they have performed well for years.
These schools could be audited and have their state funding frozen if an annual federal review criticizes the school’s performance.
Several representatives from charter schools at the committee meeting said they supported the bill. Committee members who supported the bill said it adds to a 2007 bill that strengthened charter schools.
Under that bill, a charter school might have to be reviewed only once every three years if it performs well. The bill also said charter schools could use local school districts’ substitute teachers and buses.
Bonnie Parnell, head of the education committee, said in an interview that members might look at a bill that would set up an institute to help guide these schools.
The state now requires charter schools to be approved and monitored by a “sponsor” that could be the state education board, a school district or a college.
But charter schools, which are state-funded but less regulated than public schools, and the state have clashed over their obligations to each other.
Steve Knight, principal of Silver State Charter High School in Carson City, said in an interview that charter schools deserve better education services from the state. He said he is worried a state charter school institute might give the state too much power to influence charter schools, however.
Centers like his 500-student school that focuses on alternative teaching styles also need some assurance that they won’t be overrun by large education business, he said.
Jessica Daniels, principal of Carson Montessori School, said in an interview she likes having the Carson School District as a sponsor.
The 146-student elementary school has been allowed to both succeed on its own and look to the district for assistance when needed, she said.
– Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.