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Charter school discussion to continue Tuesday in Senate education committee

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Charter school discussion to continue Tuesday in Senate education committee
By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — State Senate Education Committee Chairman Sen. Dave Sypolt is the first to admit he doesn’t know how a charter school operates but what he does know is that it’s hard to argue with a concept that begins with community and parental involvement.

Sypolt (R-Preston) said he plans to have the charter school bill on his committee’s meeting agenda Tuesday for amendments and possible passage. The discussion on the bill began in committee last week.

Sypolt said charter schools use a different approach than public schools.

“The public school dictates from the state down into the counties. Charter schools begin at the bottom with the students’ needs first and they build a framework and curriculum around those needs and they come from the bottom up,” he said.

The bill under consideration would set up the framework for charter public schools. The schools would not be private. For example, they couldn’t take just the best students from a particular area and they would have to have approval from the local board of education, which would have oversight. Sypolt said funding would also be different.

“They would actually come to the legislature or they would go to their local board of education and the money would come directly from the legislature in a separate line item. They would say, ‘Here’s our business plan. Here’s what we need in order to fulfill our goals this year,'” Sypolt said.

Sypolt said he held off running the bill last week after the teachers unions asked him to slow down the process. He said there have been some good meetings since.
“Every time I meet with the different stakeholders I learn something,” he said.