Approved Independent School Bill (school choice)

On Tuesday, the House Education Committee began putting together the elements they want to include in a bill around this topic. Off the bat, they want to codify the discrimination protections from the 2200 rule series into statute. There may also be some provisions around accreditation vs Agency of Education (AOE) review. There was a suggestion to do both because even though accreditation seems to be more rigorous, the accrediting agencies may not be looking at all the same things as AOE. The Agency has not yet weighed in on this topic.

Discrepancies between private pay students and public tuition should not be allowed. The intent of the bill would to require anti-discrimination, harassment, and bullying policies and then possibly have AOE review these polices on an annual basis to make sure schools are still in compliance.

There was also discussion of some sort of reporting requirement back to the home district. Representative Austin asked if these students are required to take the SBAC standardized tests (they are). Per current statute, it appears that reporting goes to AOE instead of supervisory unions.

Chairman Conlon would like to see a checklist for compliance as a tool for Superintendents to use. Problem is that “it will happen differently in different places.”


Later on in the week, after another testimony had wrapped up, Conlon encouraged Committee discussion on a potential bill. He wanted to address reporting requirements back to Superintendents (currently it appears these reports go to AOE) about student performance.

Representative Buss questioned how we measure performance if we don’t have consistent evaluation measures across different schools.

Conversation came up again around requiring independent schools to adhere to the Education Quality Standards (EQS) but the conversation quickly moved on after it was pointed out that this would increase the tuition they independent schools are eligible to charge.

Conlon and Representative Brady contemplated additional reporting requirements around truancy issues or students who leave or change a school for any reason. It would make sense to extend this to public schools as well.

Conlon also brought up the concept of a compliance checklist for approved independent schools that would be developed by the Agency of Education (AOE) to send to superintendents. Any instances of non-compliance would be reported to AOE. Austin wondered if it is redundant to require this.

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