Senate Education committee rejects bills to require transparency in charter schools | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Senate Education committee rejects bills to require transparency in charter schools

Posted By on Wed, Mar 22, 2017 at 4:12 PM

click to enlarge JOYCE ELLIOTT: Transparency bills rebuffed by Republicans on committee. - BRIAN CHILSON
  • BRIAN CHILSON
  • JOYCE ELLIOTT: Transparency bills rebuffed by Republicans on committee.

Two bills that would have applied transparency requirements to all schools that receive taxpayer dollars failed in the Senate Education committee this morning for want of Republican support.

Both bills were by Sen. Joyce Elliott (D-Little Rock). Senate Bill 710 would require the governing board of all schools that receive state funding to hold open public meetings and post notice of those meetings in advance. SB 712 would require all schools that receive state funds to comply with the state Freedom of Information Act, and would require a school with an admissions lottery to disclose on its website details about how it conducts that lottery and demographic information.

The legislation appears mostly targeted towards charter schools, which are privately-managed entities funded with public education funds. Some private schools that receive public dollars under a voucher program such as the "Succeed Scholarship" might also be impacted. Traditional public schools must comply with open meetings requirements and the FOIA.

Max wrote about Elliott's bills earlier today.

Elliott introduced the legislation after the Senate Education committee rejected another of her bills, this one to ensure dyslexic students are receiving services. (We'll have more coverage of that bill later.) She said SB 710 and SB 712 were "a matter of transparency and good government … and being accountable to the public."

"This is just a fundamental thing that we are trying to do: That if [you] are using state funds … you shall comply with all the requirements of public and open meetings," she said of SB 710. There was no audible dissent on the initial voice vote, and the committee chair, Sen. Jane English initially said, "Obviously, the bill has passed." However, when another senator called for a roll call vote, only Elliott and fellow Democratic Sen. Uvalde Lindsey voted "yes"; the Republicans on the committee stayed silent, and the bill failed for lack of support. (On a roll call vote, a bill must receive five votes on the eight-member committee.)

Richard Hutchinson of the Arkansas Public Policy Panel spoke for SB 712, saying it was "a matter of transparency and making sure that people have the information about how their taxpayer dollars are spent." Sen. Alan Clark (R-Lonsdale), who sponsored legislation earlier this session favorable to charter schools, asked him, "If this bill were passed, would you then support school choice, in your organization?" Hutchinson said he was there to talk specifically about SB 712, and Clark voted "No" on the bill. The rest of the committee's Republicans again stayed silent on the roll call vote, and the measure failed for lack of support.


Tags: , , , , , , ,


Sign up for the Daily Update email
Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Benjamin Hardy

Readers also liked…

  • Trump immigration protest at LR: Quick and fierce

    It was not even 24 hours ago that Sophia Said, director of the Interfaith Center; City Director Kathy Webb and others decided to organize a protest today of Donald Trump's executive order that has left people from Muslim countries languishing in airports or unable to come to the US at all — people with visas, green cards,a  post-doc graduate student en route to Harvard, Google employees abroad, families. I got the message today before noon; others didn't find out until it was going on. But however folks found out, they turned out in huge numbers, more than thousand men, women and children, on the grounds of the state Capitol to listen to speakers from all faiths and many countries.
    • Jan 29, 2017
  • LR Police Chief Buckner in running for Charleston, S.C. job

    KATV reports that Little Rock Police Chief Kenton Buckner is one of five finalists for the job of police chief in Charleston, S.C., and will be visit Charleston next week as part of the process.
    • Feb 2, 2018
  • Your daily dose of Jason Rapert

    Sen. Jason Rapert really, really didn't like it when a KATV reporter asked him about the hypocrisy of his political arguments.
    • Feb 4, 2017

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Slideshows

 

© 2018 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation