NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown) announced today the enactment of Senate Bill 1197 the Tennessee High-Quality Charter Schools Act. The law becomes effective on Saturday, July 1, and has received widespread support from the charter sector and from officials with Shelby County Schools, the state’s largest authorizer of charter schools.
“Tennessee has been the fastest improving state in the nation on our NAEP tests,” said Sen. Kelsey. “Part of the reason for this success is the accessibility of charter schools in this state. It is important to not only have charter schools, but to have high-quality charter schools, and to do that we need high-quality charter school laws.”
“I was proud to steer the High-Quality Charter School Act through the state Senate for Governor Haslam this year,” said Sen. Kelsey, one of the bill’s sponsors. “This law was supported by both school districts and charter schools to help them work better together. It ensures that future charter schools in Tennessee will only be the highest quality charter schools. Utilizing national best practices for authorization and ensuring underperforming schools are promptly closed will make Tennessee a leader in the quality of its charter schools.”
This act enhances the relationship between charter authorizers and charter schools, increases accountability and aligns charter practices in Tennessee with the national best practices. The act authorizes a 3 percent per pupil increase in the funding authorizer fee which is capped at $35,000 per school. The act also creates a $6 billion nonrecurring facilities funding program available to charter schools to offset the costs many charter schools face by not having access to free buildings the way traditional public schools do.
“This law will ensure Tennessee authorizes high-quality charter schools for years to come,” added Sen. Kelsey.