State Board noncommittal on charter bills

A controversial charter school bill passed the House Tuesday.

But late Tuesday afternoon, the State Board of Education opted not to vote.

The board decided not to endorse or oppose House Bill 206, which earmarks $1.4 million for charter school facilities, and House Bill 221, a governance bill that would allow universities and nonprofit groups to authorize charters.

State superintendent Tom Luna debated in favor of the two bills, calling them a compromise crafted by charter advocates and other education groups.

But board member Emma Atchley of Ashton said HB 206 — which ties charter facilities spending to voter-passed school bonds and levies — might dissuade voters from supporting levies and bond issues in the future. “I think that’s of grave concern.”

State Board staff expressed concerns about both bills.

HB 206 goes to the Senate. HB 221 could come up for a House vote as early as Wednesday.

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