This week three priority bills made it one step further along in the legislative process. On Tuesday, SB 1658 and HB 467 made it out of their respective committees. The Senate Education Committee unanimously voted out SB 1658, by Chairman Larry Taylor, the disposition of property bill. This bill would clarify the process that the state utilizes to dispose of property of a charter holder that ceases to operate. Also, it would clarify that title to the property remains with the charter holder while the charter is in operation. This language is important to ensure that we maintain a robust financing market for charter schools.
The House Public Education Committee unanimously voted out HB 467, the bill that would increase the capacity available for charter schools through the Permanent School Fund (PSF) Bond Guarantee program. This bill filed by Rep. Jim Murphy would save public charter schools millions of dollars on lower interest rates on their bonds and other related costs. It is truly a win-win: the bill would save taxpayer funds and keep dollars in the classroom.
Lastly, on Wednesday, April 12th, HB 382/HJR 34 was voted out of the House Ways and Means Committee. HB 382/HJR 34, also by Rep. Jim Murphy, would exempt the property leased by a public charter school from real property taxes. While both school districts and public charter schools that own their school buildings are exempt from real property taxes, public charter schools that lease their school buildings are not exempt from these taxes. Since public charter schools do not receive facilities funding from the state, many public charter schools lease their school building and this bill would be of great benefit. This is another bill that saves taxpayer funds and keeps them in the classroom.
The movement of these bills does not happen in a vacuum. Many thanks to all of our charter school operators, parents, and other stakeholders that help push pro-charter legislation forward. This is a step in the right direction, but there is much work yet to be done. If you haven’t contacted your legislator yet in support of these efforts, now is the time to do so! Visit our Take Action webpage to engage in these efforts today!