Sharp Files Legislation to Restrict Charter School Decision Appeals

Senator Ron Sharp is looking to stop the Oklahoma State Board of Education from overturning local school board decisions concerning charter schools. He filed Senate Bill 879 to stop the appeals to the State Board and have any charter school sponsored by the State Board to find a new sponsor in one year.

Sharp points to legislation passed in 2015 when lawmakers were told a charter reform bill would give the ultimate decision to local school boards when a group wanted to open a charter school within in a district. Senate Bill 782 allowed for the current appeals process to the State Board.

“We were told in 2015 that all expanding charter schools had to go through the local board of education for its final approval but that’s not what has happened.  Locally-elected school boards can and have rejected charter schools within their school districts only to have the charter organizers appeal the rejection to the non-elected State School Board to overturn,” said Sharp.  “To date, all of the local school board rejections have been overturned by the State School Board violating the wishes of local taxpayers who don’t want charter schools in their districts.  We must give back local control on decisions concerning charter schools.”

Sharp believes SB 879 will gain the support of local school boards and taxpayers who don’t want charter schools in their districts. He said when a charter school is opened, it diverts funding away from the traditional public school.

“One example occurred when Norman Public Schools lacked the funds to continue a foreign language immersion program and couldn’t find certified foreign language teachers, a group was able to start a charter school in that district after the local school board rejected its creation at the insistence of a majority of local citizens but the State School Board approved it,” explained Sharp.  “This isn’t right but it has happened numerous times statewide.  Local taxpayers should decide what schools and kind of education they want in their communities not the State Board of Education.”

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  1. castor, 10 December, 2017

    Yeah, he would oppose charter schools. Most charters operate at lower cost than the standard public schools, and some charters – not all – excel in academics. You need the ability to appeal because in a lot of small towns, the local school board is just a PR appendage of the entrenched administration, marching and voting as the administrators direct. At least the charters provide competition to the local school. And incidentally, the charter in Seminole was started at the behest of a new industry that moved to town.


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