Letters to the Editor

Letter: Charter approval politics

An April 9 article in the Anchorage Daily News regarding proposed legislation dealing with education stated that “only local school boards can authorize charter schools.”

However, under the current law, which has been in effect since 1995, charter school establishment and renewals must be approved not only by the local school district but also by the state Board of Education. So while Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed SB 140 in part because it would not have allowed a board he appoints to approve new charter schools, that board, the State Board of Education, already has that responsibility.

Recently introduced legislation, HB 392, appears to further the governor’s desire to cut local school districts out of the process for approving new and renewed charters by placing all of that authority with the state Board of Education.

HB 392 also would significantly reduce the school districts’ ability to enforce approved charters.

The current system of sharing the authority for charter school approvals has worked well and provides a balance of local and statewide perspectives.

Proposed changes in the law governing charter schools within the current draft of HB 392 will give school districts all the responsibility for operating charter schools with none of the tools for ensuring those schools are safe, effective and accountable.

— Claire Holland LeClair



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