House Bill 315 (Knudsen), the charter school bill, died on third reading in the House yesterday afternoon.
THANK YOU to everyone who emailed and called legislators who voted for the bill yesterday, asking them to change their votes to NO today. It made a difference. Enough legislators did change their votes.
While there was a concern that some representatives would move to reconsider HB 315 today, they did not. That motion has to be made within 24 hours of the vote, so it is now too late for them to reconsider.
What HB 315 does: HB 315 creates a convoluted, bureaucratic parallel universe of so-called “public” charter schools, that would in fact be “public” in name only.
HB 315 sells public schools to the highest bidder, a bidder that might be an international corporation with offices in Chicago or Singapore.
HB 315 permits an elected board of trustees to convert its entire school to a charter school that may or may not be held accountable to the local school district taxpayers and electorate.
HB 315 allows an newly authorized charter school to eliminate an existing union of employees and their collectively bargained agreement.
HB 315 invites unaccountable distance learning operatives without a single employee in Montana to take public dollars and create their own statewide educational enterprises.
HB 315 authorizes charter schools to employ just about anybody they might want to teach — no license required. The bill is unconstitutional. It’s not a made-in-Montana idea — HB 315 comes from a national template that would cause huge problems in Montana.