Friday, February 19, 2016

The Fat Lady Has Not Sung, But Is She Warming Up?

There are three remaining pieces of legislation regarding the transfer the power to approve charter schools from local school boards to the State Board of Education:

HB3 (Del. Robert B. Bell) provides for a referendum on the November 8, 2016, ballot to approve or reject an amendment to grant the Board of Education the authority to establish charter schools.

HJ1 (Del. Robert B. Bell) Grants the Board of Education authority to establish charter schools.  This provides the wording of the Constitutional Amendment.

SB734 Subject to the results of a voter referendum on a related constitutional amendment, the bill permits the Board of Education to grant a charter application previously denied by the local school board.

HB3 and HJ1 should both be heard in the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections Tuesday.  The committee meets at 4 PM.  Should HB3 and HJ1 fail to report, SB734 is rendered meaningless, as it contains an enactment clause requiring that the Constitutional Amendment  called for in HB3 and HJ1 is approved by the voters.  If HB3 and HJ1 fail, that question will not be on the ballot.

The House Education Committee’s  Education Innovation Subcommittee will take up SB734 at 7:30 on Monday morning.  A very similar bill, Del. Lingamfelter’s HB565, made it all the way to the House floor where he re-referred the bill back to the House Education Committee which he knew would not meet again before Crossover.  I suspect that either Lingamfelter sensed that he did not have the votes for passage, or he was disappointed that the bill was amended by Delegate Albo to require that either the state or the entity seeking the charter pay for the construction of the school if the state Board of Education approved the charter.  Delegate Albo plans to seek the same amendment to SB734 should it reach the House floor.

HB3 and HJ1 should both be heard in the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections Tuesday (P&E).  The committee meets at 4 PM.  The Senate already rejected the Senate Companions to these measures, SB588 and SJ6.  You will remember that SB588 failed on a tie vote.  SJ6 failed on a 19-Y 21-N vote.

We have reason to believe that the  valkyrie Brünnhilde may do her best rendition of Götterdämmerung on some time after 4 on Tuesday.  Your calls and emails to subcommittee and committee members may encourage the good Valkyrie to continue warming up.