By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—In an email to the House Republicans, Speaker Mike Hubbard has revealed the outline of the Charter School plan for the 2015 Legislative session, noting, “This legislation will be a priority for us.”
Known as the the School Choice and Student Opportunity Act, the bill will be carried in the Senate by President Pro Tem Del Marsh and in the House by Representative Terri Collins.
The act provides for 10 start-up charter schools to be established in each fiscal year for a period of five years, before any legislative review of the success of failure the program.
The Act also states, “There is no limit on the number of conversion public charter schools that may be approved.” According to the bill, a Conversion School is, “A public charter school that existed as a non-charter public school before becoming a public charter school.”
A Public Charter School as described by the Act, is, “ A public school formed pursuant to this act that satisfies all of the following: a. Has autonomy over key decisions including, but not limited to, decisions concerning finance, personnel, scheduling, curriculum, instruction, and procurement. b. Is governed by an independent 501(c)(3) governing board.”
The school may be open to serve any grades from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade, and “shall be open to any student residing in the State.”
The formation and authorization of public charter school would be under the supervision of a Board appointed by the Governor, Senate President Pro Tem and Speaker of the House.
The State Board of Education will appoint eight of those members based on two appointees from the Governor, two from the President Pro Tem, two from the Speaker of the House, two from the State Superintendent of Education. The ninth member will be be a rotating position based on the local school system.
One of the two appointee recommendations of each entity will initially serve a one-year term. The other will serve for two years. Once fully implemented, each member will serve a two-year term with a six year term limit.