redefinED roundup: Vouchers in Wisconsin, ESAs in Arizona, tax credits in South Carolina & more

Sherri Ackerman

Illinois: Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign into law a bill that sets aside 33 percent of the enrollment at charter schools for children with parents assigned to federal military bases (Lake County Journal).

MondayRoundUp_goldNew York: The successful True North Rochester Prep charter school group plans to expand to serve 2,600 students (Democrat and Chronicle).

New Jersey: Newark’s charter schools network receives $10 million from national donors including the Walton Foundation and the Doris and Donald Fisher Fund (Newark Patch). A proposed state takeover of the Camden school district could result in an all-charter district or a radically restructured one (Education Week). Debate continues on Gov. Chris Christie’s school voucher program (NJ Spotlight). The state education department blocks the opening of two virtual charter schools with ties to K12, Inc. (Star-Ledger).

Michigan: Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences’ CEO, Maurice Morton, says the charter school has had its share of success and failure, much like any public school (BET).

Maine: Bangor City Council considers a moratorium on charter schools, citing the negative effects of competition on the local school district (Bangor Daily News). Lawmakers pass a bill requiring charter schools to be run by nonprofits (Bangor Daily News). The Senate gave preliminary approval to a bill that would put a temporary moratorium on virtual charter schools (Portland Press Herald). The charter school commission considers a year moratorium on charter applications after noting the time-consuming work monitoring the five charters it already approved (Morning Sentinel).

Pennsylvania: The Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit, a school choice program, aims to raise at least $1 million by July 1, with donations starting to add up (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The House Education Committee passed legislation that prevents charter schools from double dipping in pension funds from the district and the state, and increases the tax credit program funding from $25 million to $125 million (Patriot-News). More from the York Dispatch. State charter school leaders joined Philadelphia’s call for more state education funding (NewsWorks). 2016 GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul set to give commencement speech at Philadelphia charter school (Washington Examiner).

Mississippi: House Speaker Philip Gunn predicts one of the most heavily-debated education reform measures next year in the Legislature will be tax credit scholarships (Northeast Mississippi News).

Colorado: Virtual school students talk about how online learning helped them pursue their dreams and earn their diplomas (Our Colorado News).

Delaware: New school choice law standardizes applications and deadlines (WDDE). A bill aimed at reforming the state’s charter school system is headed to the House (Delaware Online).

Washington, D.C.: Council member David A. Catania proposes bills to overhaul the city’s public education system, including one that calls for the disposing of surplus buildings to charter schools (Washington Post).

North Carolina: The Public Charter Schools Association opposes a review board that is separate from the state board of education (Charlotte Observer).

Tennessee: Three new charter schools are set to open in Memphis, serving 900 students (Memphis Business Journal).

Indiana: Russ Simnick of the state Public Charter Schools Association takes a job with the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools in Washington, D.C. (Indianapolis Business Journal). The creation of more charter schools for dropouts is in doubt due to state funding cap (Indianapolis Star). More from Journal and Courier.

Texas: The Texas Virtual School Network is poised to expand its offerings to charter schools, districts and higher-education if Gov. Rick Perry approves new bill (Education Week).

Florida: Florida Virtual School’s first graduation points to new trend in education (Seminole Chronicle). Private school student gets green light to sign up for public school JROTC (redefined). Teacher leaves public school job for one at a private religious school to be closer to her kids and faith (redefined). The Pembroke Pines Charter School System is projecting a $2.4 million budget shortfall for the 2013-14 school year and has no money to pay the 330 school teachers their contracted raises (Sun-Sentinel).

Wisconsin: The Republican-controlled state budget committee has approved expanding the private school voucher program statewide (Associated Press).  State Superintendent Tony Evers blasts the expansion of school vouchers, calling the move “financially reckless and academically unproven” (Leader-Telegram). Republican Sen. Dale Schultz looks to change the voucher deal (Associated Press). The expansion of Wisconsin’s school voucher program is headed to the Senate and Assembly for approval (Superior Telegram). School districts sound off about vouchers (Fox 11). Most of north central Wisconsin’s charter schools are not evaluated under the state’s new accountability system (Wausau Daily Herald). Study finds Gov. Scott Walker and Republican legislators use research paid for by special interest groups that support many GOP candidates to push for expansion of state school voucher program (Sheboygan Press).

Arizona: Vail School District is considering converting some of its schools to charter schools to bring in more state funding (Arizona Daily Star). The Arizona Court of Appeals denies a request to block Arizona’s landmark education savings account program (Western Free Press). More from Capital Media Services.

Connecticut: New state budget includes $29 million for magnet schools (Greenwich Time). The Board of Education unanimously approves two new state charter schools, the first since 2008 (Naugatuck Patch).

Massachusetts: Mayoral candidates talk about expanding charter schools (Charlestown Patch).

Louisiana: The budget plan sails through House and Senate, and includes money that doubles the state’s school choice voucher program to accommodate about 4,000 new students (Times-Picayune). Five groups have filed letters of intent to open new charter schools (Times-Picayune).

California: Three of the state’s highest-performing charter schools can remain open as they fight the Oakland school board’s decision to close them following allegations of financial mismanagement and fraud (Associated Press). More from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Washington: Rep. Liz Pike introduces a bill that creates a tax credit scholarship (Heartland).

South Carolina: Lawmakers approve bill that creates tax credit scholarships (The State).

Arkansas: The state’s virtual school program is poised to become the largest independently-run  charter school (Northwest Arkansas News).



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Jason Bedrick June 10, 2013 - 2:01 pm

FYI: The “voucher” program in AZ is actually the ESA program. In other words, the two stories you cite refer to the same event. AZ doesn’t have an actual voucher program because the state supreme court struck it down years ago. Now the question before the courts is whether the ESA program is constitutionally verboten like a voucher program or if it is significantly different enough to survive constitutional scrutiny.

Sherri Ackerman June 12, 2013 - 9:35 am

Hi Jason, thanks for reading our blog and taking the time to comment. I appreciate the clarification about the voucher/ESA issue. Duly noted with entry updated.

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