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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE JUNE 2014

• Bill H3853 is on its way to the Governor's desk. View Bill.  H3853 - Bill with Implementation Notes

• The budget is on its way to the Governor for vetoes. We do not expect any major changes at this point. For your FY2015 budgets, there are many scenarios at play due to the changes.

• View Appropriations Bill as passed by the General Assembly.

Budget Highlights:

New per pupil weights are in place. For the current fiscal year, the pupil classification weightings are:

  • K-12 pupils or base students including homebound students: 1.00.
  • Students served in licensed residential treatment facilities (RTFs) for children and adolescents as defined under Section 44-7-130 of the 1976 Code shall receive a weighting of 2.10.
  • Weights for students with disabilities as prescribed in Section 59-20-40(1)(c) Special Programs
  • Pre-career and Career Technology: 1.29
  • Additional weights for personalized instruction:
    • Gifted and Talented: 0.15
    • Academic Assistance: 0.15
    • Limited English Proficiency: 0.20
    • Pupils in Poverty: 0.20

Transition funds are in place for schools losing funds based on the new weights (except for a prorated amount for the school in Georgetown). SCDE will be providing guidance on computing these amounts in the coming weeks. It is our understanding that these funds will not be issued until after the 135 day counts are in and computed.

Funding for South Carolina Public Charter School District (SCPCSD) students will be base plus funds allocated in 1A.69. Pupils enrolled in virtual charter schools by the SCPCSD or institutions of higher education shall receive $1,900 per weighted pupil and pupils enrolled in brick and mortar charter schools sponsored by the SCPCSD or institutions of higher education shall receive $3,600 per weighted pupil.

There will be new technology and reading coach funds - guidance provided by SCDE in coming weeks.

SCDE updates and finance newsletter

There are significant changes to the Charter School Act. Highlights include:

  • Tax exemption for property taxes with for-profit landlord
  • New closure language - including new language on implementing generally accepted accounting principles
  • Identification of Alternative Ed Campuses
  • New school development requirements

The Alliance will host a series of webinars and provide further technical assistance on all of these changes. These topics will also be discussed at the Leaders Meeting on July 31st.


 

Communications, Policy Development, and Advocacy

Studies have been clear that the quality of a state’s charter school law is a critically important factor in the success of public charter schools.  High quality public charter schools cannot flourish in a state without robust communications and advocacy efforts focused on their unique needs as autonomous, innovative schools.  

  • Policy development with a focus in the coming year on ESEA/NCLB, common core adoption, and new assessment requirements
  • Coordinated grassroots advocacy focused on parity in funding and ensuring state laws promote high quality public charter schools and protect their autonomy and flexibility
  • Ensuring there is public charter school representation on policy committees and work groups at the state level
  • Statewide communications about public charter schools
  • Developing facilities solutions for public charter schools through strategic partnerships

The most important public charter school advocacy you can do is to tell the real stories of highly effective public charter schools in your community. 

Invite community leaders, decision makers, and stakeholders to visit public charter schools where great academic achievement is taking place.


 

New National Rankings Find South Carolina Charter School Laws Rank 15th in Nation

The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools released its 5th annual ranking of state charter school laws. These rankings are measured against the National Alliance law. 

Please read this press release for additional information regarding our SC rankings.


 

National Alliance Releases ESEA Reauthorization Recommendations

     The National Alliance for Public Schools is pleased to release Free to Succeed: Public Charter Schools and the Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. This paper, based on interviews and discussions with prominent public charter school stakeholders, outlines the key priorities of the charter school sector as Congress gears up for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act.

     In order for the public charter sector to grow and continue to produce results through innovation, the National Alliance believes that the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) should significantly expand support for both the creation of new charter schools and the replication and expansion of successful charter schools. At the same time, ESEA reauthorization presents an opportunity to encourage innovation on a national scale, and to roll back encroachment on charter school freedoms that threaten to stifle student outcomes.



     Unlike the last time reauthorization took place in 2001, public charter schools are no longer an educational experiment: it is a 20-year-old sector that, according to the most recent research, is improving educational outcomes across the country. A reauthorized ESEA needs to ensure that federal funds for charter schools encourage the creation of high-quality schools, while at the same time, protect the freedom of charters to innovate by making the following changes:

  1. Expanding and reforming the Charter Schools Program, including authorization of grants for the replication and expansion of high quality charter schools
  2. Recognizing success and implementing consequences for failing charter schools
  3. Encouraging innovation and eliminating unnecessary regulations
  4. Ensuring equitable treatment and funding of public charter schools in federal programs

We look forward to working with the charter school community on these proposals.

Legislative Action Concerning Charter Schools:

  • Our number one priority is to advocate for parity in funding for all students including public charter school students in the SC Public Charter School District.
  • Bill H3241 is currently on 3rd reading in the Senate.

 Links to Charter School News:

 
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