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2016 State Legislative Session Highlights for Charter Public Schools

Todd Ziebarth

2016 State Legislative Session Highlights for Charter Public Schools summarizes this year’s state legislative activity across the country, organized into the following categories: no-law states, authorizing and accountability, funding and facilities, and other issues. Some of the biggest takeaways from this year’s legislative sessions include:

  • Washington passed legislation that re-established its charter school law after its state supreme court declared its previous law invalid.
  • Louisiana maintained autonomies for all New Orleans charter schools in the Recovery School District (RSD) as it required the Orleans Parish School Board (OPSB) superintendent to develop a transition plan that anticipates all of these schools, along with all RSD functions, returning to OPSB by July 1, 2018.
  • Michigan required that authorizers must be accredited in order to approve additional schools in Detroit, created an A–F accountability system for all public schools in Detroit, enacted automatic closure requirements for chronically low- performing charter schools across the state, prohibited authorizer hopping (i.e., the practice of a low-performing charter school jumping from one authorizer to another in order to avoid closure), and created an advisory commission that will produce reports on school location and transportation in Detroit.
  • Mississippi made some major improvements to its law, including allowing students in school districts rated C, D, or F to cross district lines to attend a charter school, allowing conversion charter schools to purchase or lease their existing school buildings from their local school districts at market value, and permitting charter school employees to participate in the state retirement system and other benefits programs.
  • New York secured $54.8 million in new funding for charter schools, which translates into an additional $430 per charter school student.