REVIEW OF 2014 LEGISLATIVE SESSION • Authorizer bill - PASSED Legislation allowing the State Board of Education to act as an authorizer upon appeal for charter school applicants in districts with at least one priority school was passed and enacted. • Facilities process - UPDATED A standardized, official form for school districts to catalog vacant and underutilized facilities and then report to the charter sector was developed and utilized last year. • ASD Enrollment - STALLED A bill meant to expand enrollment eligibility for ASD-approved charters passed the full Senate and House Education Committee, but stalled in House Finance. • Charter school accountability - PASSED Legislation proposed by the Nashville Chamber of Commerce calling for charter schools performing in the bottom 5% of schools statewide to close was passed. (Note: the intent of the bill was to close schools identified in the bottom 5% when the list is run again after 2015. As written, this legislation has been interpreted differently.) • Board meeting requirements update - PASSED This bill made it possible for charter school boards to conduct meetings via teleconference or other electronic means. KEY LEGISLATIVE ISSUES FOR 2015 • Authorizer Fee Authorizer fee legislation is a key priority for school districts and some legislators this year. The Center will work to ensure that if legislation around a fee is likely to pass, the bill would be structured to include a minimal fee, restricted to cover only the direct and identifiable costs of district charter authorizers and the bill would include a mechanism for equalized charter funding, including resources for facilities. • Facilities Improving access and affordability for charter school facilities will be a key priority this session (as noted above). • ASD Enrollment TCSC will work closely with Rocketship Education and the Department of Education to expand enrollment eligibility in ASD charters. • Higher standards Though the debate around higher standards is ongoing, TCSC will continue to partner with SCORE and other education reform organizations to ensure that Tennessee moves forward with stronger educational standards. 2015 LEGISLATIVE SESSION WATCHLIST Proposed legislation we will be following closely: • Legislation allowing for-profit EMOs in Tennessee; • Legislation allowing charter schools to opt out of the health insurance plan chosen by their authorizing district in favor of a separate plan; • Parent Trigger legislation allowing parents in a school that falls in the bottom 20% of the state to vote by petition to transform that school, with conversion to charter as one transformation option. A majority vote is required; • Proposals for significant changes to the BEP funding formula; • Legislation creating a provision to allow charter schools to choose to reserve up to 50% of their seats for students eligible for free and reduced price lunch; • A push to enable a charter applicant to establish academic criteria for admission (i.e. similar to an SCS option school); • Legislation to establish a technical correction to the automatic closure bill clarifying that the legislation should go into effect after 2015.