Little signs charter administrators’ bill

There will be no end-of-session veto this time.

Gov. Brad Little has signed off on a law to relax hiring requirements for charter school administrators. But Little expressed some reservations.

“I have listened closely to those concerned about the consequences of this bill and I will be closely watching its impacts,” Little said Thursday, in a formal letter outlining his decision.

Senate Bill 1058 will allow charter schools to bypass the normal hiring requirements for school administrators.

The new administrator would have to hold a bachelor’s degree, meet one of several work experience requirements and pass a criminal background check. The administrator would also need to receive training on teacher evaluations, and produce a letter from the charter’s board that says trustees are “committed to overseeing the applicant’s performance.”

The State Board of Education, the Idaho Association of School Administrators and the Idaho Education Association opposed the bill, and critics said the bill would put a non-educator in charge of overseeing academics and evaluating teachers. Supporters said the bill would give charter schools the flexibility to round out their management team by hiring someone with a business background, or a successful administrator from another state.

In his letter, Little challenged charters to leverage the new law.

“With the increased flexibility of this new certificate, there is a clear expectation that there be more evidence of charter school innovation and, more importantly, that these innovative approaches in teaching and learning will have a positive impact for all Idaho’s public schools,” Little wrote.

Little’s action ends a two-year journey on this issue. Then-Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a similar bill on the final day of the 2018 legislative session.

 

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