Bill to expand charter schools considered - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Public hearing on bill to expand charter schools

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A bill that would make it much easier to open independently operating charter schools in Wisconsin was up for a public hearing Thursday.

It would allow for any UW System school, state technical college or community educational service agency to authorize charter schools, bypassing local school districts.

Supporters say those schools operate at a higher level for less money, but opponents say it's one more way to weaken already underfunded public schools.

"I'm more concerned about the fact that at the local level, we won't be holding public hearings to be creating these charter schools and that concerns me, because that is a local control issue," said Rep. Mandy Wright (D-Wausau).

"I think that's pretty good local control if they're allowed to go to other bodies and ask for the right to establish a school to deal with the issues that they see in their communities," said Rep. Dale Kooyenga (R-Brookfield).

That bill has yet to be voted on in the Assembly Committee on Urban Education.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A proposal that would greatly expand where independent charter schools could open in Wisconsin is scheduled for a public hearing before a state Assembly committee.

Charter schools are public schools that operate like private businesses, don't employ unionized teachers or stuff and do not have to answer to school boards.

Under current law, independent charter schools not created by a school board can only be authorized by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, UW-Parkside, the Milwaukee Area Technical College, and the city of Milwaukee.

The Republican-backed bill up for a hearing Thursday would expand those that could create independent charter schools to include all four-year and two-year UW System institutions, technical college boards and all of the state's regional educational service agencies.

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