Things move fast at the Capitol during the legislative session. HB 703 was set for a floor vote today — and now it’s up in the air – probably to settle back down for a rescheduled floor vote on Wednesday April 30th.
This is a must-win bill. It’s going to be close. Representative John Bel Edwards’ HB 703 barely passed out of the House Education Committee by a vote of eight to seven. It must make it through step two: a vote of the full House.
Promoters of national for-profit charter school chains see as essential the state-level override authority to push budget-breaking charter schools onto A, B and C school districts. High-performing districts know the score and do not want these schools. They do not want BESE to have the authority to override taxpayer consent.
We must work for every single vote on this bill. Each vote of the Acadiana delegation and the New Orleans democrats is a must have. Please use www.legis.com to locate the Representatives by parish. Call early! Call often! Email, snail-mail, and fax. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
You can be assured that the for-profit charter school lobby and the business lobby will be out in force to oppose this bill. CABL, LABI, and the Louisiana Association of Public Charter Schools tout their 100% record of defeating any real reform that threatens the roll-out of the corporate business model of education. They will fight to preserve that record and to ensure the unchecked spread of the for-profit corporate charter school chains.
Those who value an integrated, effective, and equitable public school system that welcomes all students – regardless of parental support, economic condition, disability, or English-language status, need to fight as hard as those who want to divide our public system into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. The lobbyists are well-paid. But we have cell phones and heart.
- Stop BESE from redirecting local tax dollars without the consent of voters
- HB 703 does not stop, close, or harm existing or authorized charters schools, or stop new schools from going to willing districts.
- HB 703 impacts only Type 1 applications to A, B, or C districts that reject the applicants because the charter model does not fit into the district plan for success.
- HB 703 rewards high-performing districts and protects their ability to retain and improve their high rating.
- If a district slips to a C, D or F rating, BESE can authorize Type 2 charters directly into the parish, since C, D, and F is defined as failing. This supports the original intent of the charter school movement: to deliver innovation for at-risk students in failing schools.
- State law requires that local school boards determine the number and location of schoolhouses. HB 703 guarantees this legal provision for A, B and C districts.
We can’t take HB 703’s success on the House floor for granted. The time is now, and together we can win that vote!