I did forget one key thing.
From the get go, the former charter schools wanted reimbursement from the State from their costs, from Sep. 4, 2015, to run their schools if a new charter law came thru. I found this fairly interesting given that the Court ruled the law unconstitutional and just because the legislature could find a financial fix, it didn't seem to me that the State owed them money.
I cannot tell if this is still valid in this bill.
Also, the Department of Retirement Systems is to "seek legal advice as to whether the new structure proposed by this bill will allow charter schools to meet federal guidelines for being a qualified governmental employer. The DRS is willing to absorb the very small cost to implement this bill."
This is all from the only fiscal note attached to the bill. Since the bill has undergone substantial change, I can't say if the fiscal bill is still valid.
End of update
I just did second pass thru these two pieces of legislation.
(If you choose to read and compare, please note that the sections are renumbered on the bill (instead of 101, it's 201.)
Two obvious things to point out:
1) this new bill is not "the will of the people" because there are significant differences between the two. No one can say (at least not with a straight face) that the people of Washington voted for this. We did not vote for a blanket charter initiative or bill.
2) funding for charter schools before the fulfillment of McCleary? Speaks volumes about what's important in public education to legislators.
Key changes (updated):
- the entire section after then enactment clause at the beginning and then to Part 1 is struck out. That was a lot of blah, blah about how Washington's paramount duty, how great charters are, etc.
- They changed the enrollment if they are over-subscribed. Siblings of current students get first priority with a "weighted" enrollment bump for at-risk kids OR in-state children of full-time employees. Given how charters can keep their enrollments low and now also have to consider how many sibs and employees' kids there may be, those number of open slots may go way down.
- the Charter Commission is still at its same nine members (after the original bill added the Superintendent and Executive Director of SBE) selected the same way (3 by Governor, 3 by Speaker of the House and 3 by President of the Senate. However, instead of being housed administratively in the Governor's office, they are now in OSPI.
- the biggest thing that struck me was on page 18 of the bill. It would allow 40 more charters in a five year period, starting when the bill is enacted. But that means they add in the eight existing ones. So, instead of 40 schools over five years, we could have 48.
- the bill strikes down access to school district levies (like we at No on 1240 said, this did not seem legitimate so I'm not surprised that it's gone)
- the bill strikes down the "below market value" purchase price that charters could have asked for from school districts that had properties for sale or lease. (Again, No on 1240 said this looked illegal and apparently it would have been seen by the State Auditor as a "gifting of public funds." No kidding.)
- the new sections on Appropriations (127-128) are somewhat beyond my scope. I'm not sure if it's a dollar-to-dollar sameness as I-1240. I do think it appears there is some kind of bump up for transportation costs for charters.
There is one cagey part to this bill that WAS in the old bill and I'm not sure what to make of it.
All along we at 1240 said that operations of a charter - among other items and services -could farmed out to for-profit entities. But that is hard to gauge. The wording is the same in the bill as it was in 1240. Here's what this section says (it's 103,(c):
"Enter into contracts with any school district, educational service district, or other public or private entity for the provision of real property, equipment, goods, supplies, and services, including educational instructional services
schools, as long as))
The first time you see the words "management" and "operations" they are indeed linked with the word "and." However in the last sentence the word "and" is gone and it's just "management operation."
I'm thinking that is no error and that, legally, the first phrase means something different from the last phrase.