May 21, 2011

Governor Bill Haslam today lauded the passage of HB 1989/SB 1523 Friday night, which removes the cap on the number of charter schools allowed in the state and opens enrollment to more students.

“Creating an environment that promotes the growth of high quality charter schools provides parents with more education options for their children and school districts innovative tools to address their unique challenges,” Governor Haslam said. “In our mission to improve education and provide every child in Tennessee the opportunity to receive a high quality education, public charter schools are critical assets.”

Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris (R-Collierville), Speaker Pro Tempore Jamie Woodson (R-Knoxville), House Majority Leader Gerald McCormick (R-Chattanooga) and Rep. Mark White (R-Memphis) sponsored the charter school legislation that passed the Senate 22-9 and the House 72-18 with bipartisan support.

Through an innovative partnership that has raised significant sums from the private sector as well as funding from Race to the Top and additional sources, the state has accumulated nearly $40 million in investments to support new charter schools in Tennessee, it was stated.

“The national spotlight is now on Tennessee’s education reform efforts, and we’ve attracted significant resources to support the start up of new charter schools in our state,” Governor Haslam said. “This law will create more flexibility to foster the right environment to attract the most successful charter management organizations to operate in Tennessee.”

The charter schools bill is part of Governor Haslam’s strategic legislative package “focused on making the state the No. 1 location in the Southeast for high quality jobs through meaningful education reform and improvements to Tennessee’s already attractive business climate.”

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