22nd Alaska State Legislature
Information from Representative Fred Dyson (R)
District 25 - Eagle River



Click image for large 5'' x 7'' picture, 93.5k Session:
State Capitol, Room 104
Juneau, AK 99801-1182
Phone: (907) 465-2199
Fax: (907) 465-4587


Interim:
10928 Eagle River Rd., Suite 140
Eagle River, AK 99577
Phone: (907) 694-6683
Fax: (907) 694-1015

Sponsor Statement for HB 101
Charter Schools

An Act relating to charter schools.

Last Updated:


February 1, 2001

Contact:


Representative Fred Dyson at (907) 465-2199

House Bill 101 is intended to extend and strengthen the existing Alaska Charter School Law. The current law on the books is scheduled to sunset on July 1, 2005 (less than 4 years from now). This means that any new charter school cannot be approved for the allowable five year charter. Existing charter schools are having a difficult time securing facility purchase and lease agreements because their remaining contracts are something less than 4 years and cannot be extended beyond 2005.

Some of our charter schools are exciting, dynamic examples of parents being involved in their children's education. Intensive parental involvement has stretched the system in a positive way. Most charter schools are struggling because we have not given them the tools they need to succeed. I believe the demonstrated passionate involvement of parents and the good results indicate we should go beyond eliminating the sunset and allowing for longer contracts.

HB 101 is similar to the charter school law I sponsored last session except that it abandons the effort to mandate a succinct accounting statement to be part of the charter. It also abandons the attempt to mandate distribution of a pro-rated share of local contributions to go to charter schools.

HB 101 makes the following changes to the existing charter school law:

  • Eliminates the July, 2005 sunset clause.
  • Extends the allowable contract length from 5 to 10 years.
  • Eliminates the geographic distribution requirements.
  • Doubles the cap from 30 to 60 charter schools.
  • Clarifies that charter schools are not exempt from competency testing.
  • Allows Charter Schools to be counted as separate a school if the ADM is over 150 (reference AS 14.17.905)
  • Provides a one-time "start-up" grant.
  • Allows for charter school use of safe public buildings with District Superintendent approval.

We have two options: 1) strengthen the charter school law to encourage continued new thinking and foster more fresh education reform, or 2) do nothing and watch the investment of countless hours of hundreds of parents die on the vine. Merely extending the sunset and lifting the cap will not be enough. HB 101 is probably not enough, but it is a step toward quality in public education.

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Related Links

Senate Increases Public School Funding

HB 101 Helps Charter Schools

Dyson Extends Help to Charter Schools

Charter Schools in Alaska

Charter School FAQ

The Center for Education Reform