The bill that we saw last week looked very good. By the weekend we found that the Senate President had tasked the Senate Ways and Means Chair with redrafting portions of it. We have four major issues with the bill. There is an additional major issue that the Charter School Association has, which is related to language requiring three charter approvals in urban areas before other charters would be considered.
A lot of theatrics yesterday, with an unexpected amendment by Senators Pacheco and Buoniconti, who want each charter application to be voted on in a local referendum. It was approved and then un-approved by almost identical votes.
I tell you this because it points to three things: (1) It is not clear where the Senate President’s heart is on charters, (2) The SP has the clout to turn votes but it is not clear what Buoniconti and Pacheco’s amendment means in terms of their view of her leadership, and (3) I think the SP is likely to view Bono and Pacheco’s action as an affront.
It is, frankly, a mess right now. Lots of debate on funding (the core issue) and lots of fur flying.
We are sending out a new VoterVoice piece to those who have already sent in letters. Together with other charter school folks, we have gotten 4000 letters in to legislators.
And there is much more to come if they push the decision off until January.
Let’s get a great education for 27,000 more inner city kids!