House reaches charter schools compromise

Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 1:32pm

A compromise has been reached in legislation that would allow for more charter schools in the state, according to multiple sources.

The agreement reached involves caps on the number of charter schools allowed in Tennessee and has been agreed upon by factions in the legislature that up until a few days ago appeared to be at an impasse.

The agreement that is expected to be approved on the floor of the House later today will allow for a total of 20 charter schools in Nashville/ Davidson County, 35 for Memphis/Shelby County, and 90 total for the state of Tennessee. Students who are failing in traditional public schools will have first priority for admission and then "at-risk" students can be admitted to a particular charter school on a lottery basis.

The charter school bill, which would dramatically broaden student eligibility for charter schools in Tennessee, was defeated weeks ago at the will of the a majority of the Democratic caucus. The last day and a half have seen serious activity associated with the bill, apparently fueled by a compromise between bill supporters and opponents. The House Education Committee approved the bill this morning.

The state Senate approved the charter schools bill May 7.