It looks like there will be two constitutional amendments affecting K12 education. Three previous proposals are grouped into one amendment and another proposal stands alone. Both amendments expand charter schools and lead to greater state control of local schools.
One amendment ties P10 civics education to P 71 the expansion of the authorization of charter schools, and P43 limits of terms of school board members. Schools already require civics education in statute. Expanding the authorization of charter schools beyond school districts is a fight that has been going on in the legislature for several years. This is a local control issue that if successful, would allow a state agency or other designee to authorize charters anywhere. Limiting terms for school board members to eight years would allow more turnover, but it could also lower the level of expertise of boards.
A second amendment P93 would stand on its own on the ballot. This amendment allows innovative or high performing districts to turn themselves into charter districts. They would be exempt from the facility and personnel regulations in the K12 school code that other public schools must follow. The consequences for the creation of charter districts for ‘high performing’ school districts are a mixed blessing. Yes, districts would have flexibility, but issues of funding equity, staffing, and quality of facilities all could become more contentious. Of course there is the irony that most high performing districts are ‘high performing’ because they have more schools whose populations are more affluent. Thus, rural and lower income areas would have more regulation and more expensive facilities etc.
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Looks to me like neither is good. Is there an option for neither of them? Or do we just vote no on both? Guidance please