Legislative Update Week 5
Wrapping up 2019’s Key Charter School Bills
The end of the 2019 General Session is in sight. On Tuesday, legislators stayed as late as necessary to complete their work. If past experience is any guide, they could stay on the floor until 8 or 9 pm, perhaps later in the days to come.
Fortunately, UAPCS’ key bills are wending their way through without significant opposition. This morning we succeeded in amending Rep. Lisonbee’s HB 250 to make sure the Utah Military Academy would still be able to use their defining uniforms. Last week we succeeded in working with Rep. Owens in amending HB 260 to meet the needs of the early college high schools.
Perhaps most importantly, Rep. Snow’s funding and intent language directing the State Board to revise the LRF formula to use newer estimates rather than 2-year old data continues to enjoy strong legislative support. On Friday the Executive Appropriations Committee will finalize the budget, at which point we’ll know how much of the $4 million they’ll fund. We are monitoring these nuances daily, and will let you know if we need to flood members of the Executive Appropriations Committee with support emails.
Protecting Charter Schools’ Good Names
You may worry about Chris Jones’ ongoing tirades against charter schools masquerading as KUTV news stories. It is not at all clear what (beyond a desperate ratings chase) is prompting him to manufacture his “scandals.” All of us in charterland know his allegations are as inaccurate as they are salacious.
It is heartening that Legislators see through his fearmongering. Many legislators serve on charter school boards. They know firsthand how much good work charter schools do, and take offense at his repeated smears of charter schools. It is equally heartening that friends like former Speaker Greg Hughes are using their platforms to set the record straight.
Chris is unlikely to stop manufacturing scandals where none exist. If he contacts your school, please reach out to us as quickly as possible. We want to help you mitigate the damage Chris Jones can cause.
UAPCS has had a successful legislative session, but the last week will be the most important. Now we need charter schools and their families to contact their legislators and encourage them to support the $4 million for charter school funding equity.
Not only do we need directors and board members of charter schools to contact their legislators, parents of charter school students need to join this crucial effort. Please encourage all these groups at your school to visit www.ourcharterfamilies.
Now is the time for parents and schools to let our voices be heard. Share this email with everyone tied to your school and encourage them to find and contact their legislators.
It’s a privilege to represent Utah’s charter schools. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity to be part of Utah’s charter school community - have a wonderful week!
Royce Van Tassell
Bills to Watch
You can find a list of bills on our watchlist by following this link. This week we're paying close attention to:
HB 250 School Fee Revisions: requires the State Board of Education (state board) to report recommendations on activity based costing; enacts conditions for a local education agency (LEA) to charge a fee; requires the state board to take certain actions against an LEA that fails to comply with fee provisions; grants the state board rule-making authority for fee provisions; and prohibits an LEA from charging a fee for a school uniform but permits a fee for school activity clothing.
HB 273 School Fees Modifications: This bill with certain exceptions, prohibits a local education agency (LEA) from charging elementary school students a fee, and with certain exceptions, prohibits an LEA from charging a secondary school student a fee for a curricular activity.
SB 55 Charter Trust Land Council Amendments: This bill permits grandparents of students enrolled in a charter school to serve on the charter school's charter trust land council
As in years past, UAPCS’ “Policy Committee” meets each week during the General Session. If you would like to participate in our Policy Committee, please email Royce Van Tassell (Royce@utahcharters.org), and he will add you to the weekly invitation list.