Maryland Senate panel approves watered-down charter school bill.

charter

A Maryland Senate committee voted Tuesday to approve a watered-down version of a bill proposed by Gov. Larry Hogan (R) that was designed to increase the number of charter schools in the state.

Hogan’s original bill made sweeping changes to the state’s charter law, giving schools the ability to hire and fire teachers, doing away with a requirement that charters fall under state collective bargaining rules and giving charters more say over who can attend.

The amended bill does not change hiring rules, but it does provide some leeway on enrollment. It also offers some flexibility regarding certain state educational requirements for charter schools that have been in existence for at least five years, are in good financial shape and have a student achievement record that exceeds the local school system’s. Those charters would be exempt from specific requirements about scheduling, curriculum, and professional development.

“The bill isn’t perfect, but it offers a path toward giving charter schools more flexibility — a definite improvement from the current law,” said Erin Montgomery, a spokesman for Hogan. “The governor plans to work with legislators in the House to strengthen the law.”

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