There’s less than a month left in the current legislative session, and it’s time to check in on SB2, a bill that would make big changes to charter school laws in Texas, including raising the charter cap. This post is about the bill’s introduction in February, this post is about Senator Dan Patrick’s visit to San Antonio to promote the bill, and this post is about the vote at the Senate Committee on Education.
On April 11, the full Senate voted 30-1 in favor of SB2. “Texas Senate votes to slowly increase number of charter schools”, Terrence Stutz, Dallas Morning News, April 11, 2013. Early versions of SB2 would have eliminated the charter cap; the version that passed the Senate would raise the cap to 305 by 2019. Also, early versions of SB2 created an independent charter authorizer; the Senate version puts the Education Commissioner in charge, with cooperation from the State Board of Education. The bill also includes greater authority for the Education Commissioner to close failing charter schools.
On April 30, the House Committee on Public Education voted 7-3 to send the bill to the full House. “House panel approves charter school bill”, Terrence Stutz, Trail Blazers blog (Dallas Morning News), April 30, 3013; “Charter School Bill Means More Options For Parents And Students”, Pat Hernandez, KUHF, April 30, 2013; “House education panel approves charter school bill”, Houston Chronicle (AP), April 30, 2013. Unlike the Senate version, the House version does not create an exemption from the charter cap for charter schools designed to serve at-risk students (i.e., students who dropped out and are coming back to school to finish).