The Delaware General Assembly passed the House Bill 165 June 25 to better support high-performing charter schools.
Tuesday's 17-4 vote came after house approval by a 31-9 margin on June 11.
"Changing the status quo is never easy. I appreciate the hard work of the General Assembly to craft a bill that holds our charter schools accountable for their results, while ensuring we support those that improve opportunities for our students," said Governor Jack Markell. "By better preparing our teachers, making the school choice system easier for families to navigate and improving our charter school system, we have made significant strides toward giving all of Delaware's students the quality education they deserve."
With the governor's signature, the law will:
- Raise the bar for starting charter schoolswith a pre-screening process, applicant interviews, and additional opportunities to receive and use public input regarding the impact of new and expanded charter schools.
-Increase charter flexibility and support with 10-year terms for high-performing charters (while retaining a five-year midpoint review), clear allowance of conduit financing, equalized minor capital funding, and creation of a charter school performance fund for high-performing charters, particularly those looking to expand the number of high-need students they serve.
-Set and enforces consistent expectations for charter schools,with authorizer-charter agreements, required board member training, required provision of breakfast and lunch to eligible students, clear closure protocols and a renewal process aligned to the charter performance framework.
-Ensure orderly closures of failed charters,by requiring all charter schools to maintain enough cash to pay their bills through the end of each academic year and to establish and follow protocols for orderly closure.
"After 18 years, this bill significantly moves us forward and does what is best for all children no matter where they go to school," said Representative Earl Jaques (D-Glasgow).