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National Alliance Releases Legislative Session Roundup for Public Charter Schools in 2015

Washington, D.C. – This year, Alabama became the 43rd state to enact a public charter school law, Oklahoma overhauled its law to allow public charter schools statewide and Connecticut defeated a proposed two-year moratorium on opening new public charter schools. In a new report released today, the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools highlights these and many other state legislative actions that impacted public charter schools in 2015.  

The report, 2015 State Legislative Session highlights for Public Charter Schools, breaks down the legislative activities for charter schools into five categories – no-law states, growth, authorizing and accountability, funding and facilities and other issues.

“2015 has been a productive year for the public charter school movement. Several states have made meaningful improvements to their public charter school laws. These policy changes will lead to more opportunities for students nationwide to attend high-quality public charter schools,” said Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools. “Notwithstanding this progress,  many states still need to make important changes to their laws to better support the growth of high-quality public charter schools.”

Some of the biggest takeaways highlighted in this report are:

• Alabama became the 43rd state to enact a public charter school law.

Connecticut defeated a proposed two-year moratorium on the opening new charter schools, secured a 25 percent increase in the number of public charter school seats, and strengthened school accountability.      

Indiana created and funded a $20 million performance based facilities grant program and a $50 million performance-based loan program.  

Nevada created the Nevada Achievement School District to take over chronically low-performing public schools and increased teacher certification flexibility.

New York made adjustments to its cap to allow more public charter school growth in New York City and more charter-authorizing activity by the State University of New York.  

 • Ohio increased per-pupil funding for charter facilities by $50 per year and created a $25 million “Community School Classroom Facilities” grant program for high-performing charter schools.

Oklahoma overhauled its law by, among other things, allowing charter schools statewide, strengthening school and authorizer accountability, and allowing charter schools to borrow money.

West Virginia came very close to becoming the 44th state to enact a charter law but came up just short. Look for the state to hopefully get across the finish line in 2016. 

Wisconsin overhauled its law by allowing more entities to authorize independent public charter schools, strengthening school and authorizer accountability, and providing additional funding to independent public charter schools.

About Public Charter Schools
Public charter schools are independent, public, and tuition-free schools that are given the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. Since 2010, many research studies have found that students in charter schools do better in school than their traditional school peers. For example, one study by the Center for Research on Education Outcomes at Stanford University found that charter schools do a better job teaching low income students, minority students, and students who are still learning English than traditional schools. Separate studies by the Center on Reinventing Public Education and Mathematica Policy Research have found that charter school students are more likely to graduate from high school, go on to college, stay in college and have higher earnings in early adulthood.
 

About the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The National Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the leading national nonprofit organization committed to advancing the public charter school movement. Our mission is to lead public education to unprecedented levels of academic achievement by fostering a strong charter sector. For more information, please visit www.publiccharters.org.