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House Republicans Approve Charter School Reforms

April 27, 2010

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Chairman Phil Owens
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House Republicans Approve Charter School Reforms

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The S.C. House of Representatives approved a major package of charter school reforms that will make our state’s charter school system stronger.

“This legislation was a long time coming, but will give parents new choices for what is best for their children,” said Rep. Phil Owens, chairman of the House Education and Public Works Committee. “Charter schools are public schools, and this bill continues our efforts to ensure our state’s charter schools are treated the same way as other public schools by their local school boards and groups like the High School League.”

The charter school legislation was another one of the Republican Caucus’ top priorities this year, and the Republican Caucus stands for the belief that the best, most conservative way to improve education is to give parents more choices for their child’s education.

The legislation approved Tuesday allows students attending charter schools to participate in their local school’s extra-curricular programs and sports – as is done currently in some school districts.  Charter schools would also become eligible for federal and state sponsored leagues, competitions, awards, scholarships and grants, just as in traditional public schools.

“Charter schools are public schools, and a critical part of a well-rounded education system,” said Majority Leader Kenny Bingham. “They are innovating and filling important needs in communities across our state. We need to ensure they have all the support they can from the state.”

The legislation also allows the creation of single-gender charter schools, in addition to the single-gender classrooms allowed under the current law. It also provides for the procedures whereby a private school can dissolve and become a charter school.

South Carolina currently has more than 11,000 students in charter schools throughout the state.

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