Senate DFL moves to kill charter schools

Over Republican minority objections, the Minnesota Senate Education Subcommittee on Charter Schools yesterday perverted Governor Pawlenty's charter school bill (S.F. 867) with several amendments that would strangle Minnesota's successful charter school movement. The bill passed out of the subcommittee and will be heard by the full Senate Education Committee.

One of the bill's co-sponsors, Subcommittee Chair Kathy Saltzman (DFL-Woodbury) offered the bulk of the amendments. According to the Minnesota Senate Briefly Daily Coverage and Jon Bacal of Minnesotans Against Banning New Public Schools, some of the stronger measures in the bill:

  • Would cap the number of charter schools statewide at the current number (160) until at least the fall of 2011. If passed into law, Minnesota would also lose $15 million or more annually in federal charter start-up funds.
  • Reinstates the ban on locating or relocating charter schools within one mile of a closed district property or within a consolidated school district, the identical provisions that were rejected in the House committee on Tuesday.
  • Would prohibit nonpublic sectarian or religious institutions from sponsoring charter schools. Since three of the top charter school sponsors fall into this category, the seventeen schools they sponsor would be forced to close if they could not find other sponsors.
Apparently Sen. Saltzman came to bury Caesar, not to praise him. Republcans Sen. David Hann (R-Eden Prairie) and Sen. Gen Olson (R-Minnestrista) tried to delete the first two provisions, but were defeated on voice votes.

Watch this blog, or the Facebook page of Minnesotans Against Banning New Public Schools for updates.