Bill to cap charter schools worries parents

Local News

A cap on charter schools in Nevada is in the works. Assembly Bill 462 would prohibit new charter schools from opening through the year 2021.

Some parents are concerned about the proposed change.

The advocacy group, Charter Schools Association of Nevada, has launched an effort rallying parents to oppose the cap.

If approved and signed by the governor, Nevada would join 21 other states that already have a limit on the number of charter schools.

“It’s been wonderful,” said Brianna McCullough whose two kids attend a local charter school. “We were really drawn to the programming and the extra activities for the curriculum. My kids have always been interested in art and music.”

She is against AB 462, which would stop any new charter schools from opening until 2021. She believes it will affect the estimated 22,000 students on a waitlist statewide. Charter school admission is on a lottery basis.

“The growth that’s planned for the public charter schools is also in lower income and inner city areas so that means that those kids and those families wouldn’t be able to make the same choice that we have,” McCullough said.

Most of the 21 states with caps on the number of charter schools link the decision to the impact on public schools.

In 2017, the Clark County School District blamed the growing charter school population for part of its $60 million budget hole claiming it lost $13.5 million in per pupil funding.

“Clark County School District is chronically overcrowded so to limit any new schools coming into the community just doesn’t make any sense,” McCullough said.

The union representing CCSD teachers is neutral on the bill saying:

“CCEA’s position on Assembly Bill 462 in neutral. We believe the discussion around charter schools is one worth having and that the entire model needs to be evaluated. Existing charter schools and those applying to be charters need a higher standard of accountability applied to them, especially when they are taking in public funds. We also acknowledge that in some circumstances, charter schools may be providing services and meeting needs that local public schools simply can’t, especially when they are serving underrepresented populations — working class students of color, English language learners, and/or students living in poverty. We believe these schools must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.”

Clark County School District also released a statement:

“CCSD is in contact with legislative leaders, including Assembly Committee on Education Chair Assemblyman Tyrone Thompson, regarding AB 462. Our hope through this bill is to ensure that there is an open line of communication between school districts and charter schools to best serve the community in regards to school site placement.

We want to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars at all times. Therefore, we are asking for more communication regarding where charter schools are being considered so we can ensure that we build new schools and classroom additions in areas with the highest need due to student enrollment growth.” 

The Assembly Committee on Education is the sponsor of the bill.

8 News Now reached out to several members but hasn’t heard back. AB 462 was introduced last week. It is not scheduled for a future hearing, at this time.

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