Arizona Senate backs charter oversight legislation
I’m working hard to make sure we reform charter schools to be both beneficial to our students while being transparent to the taxpayer. This bill is a step in the right direction.
Republicans in the Arizona Senate voted Thursday to impose new rules in charter schools over the objections of Democrats who said the legislation doesn’t do enough to end problems.
The legislation was prompted by news reports about instances of charter operators enriching themselves, falling short academically or failing financially.
Democrats said the legislation was written by the charter industry and gives the false impression that the Legislature has resolved problems with charter schools.
“This is just so frustrating,” said Sen. Andrea Dalessandro, a Democrat from Green Valley. “It is merely an illusion of doing something. It has no teeth in it, and I think we’re just disappointing the voters that have asked us to do reform.”
Sen. Kate Brophy McGee disagreed, acknowledging the bill “does not solve every problem in the charter spectrum” but saying it’s a compromise that makes improvements. The Legislature can’t go too far in erasing the flexibility that defines charters, she said.
“We need to preserve school choice,” said Brophy McGee, a Phoenix Republican who sponsored the legislation.
Brophy McGee’s bill would limit the number of family members that can serve on a charter board and require disclosure of contracts with companies owned by board members. It also would give the attorney general more authority to investigate questionable purchasing decisions.