Bill to lift charter cap soundly defeated

A Senate Ways and Means Committee education bill that would have raised the cap on charter schools was defeated in the Massachusetts Senate on July 16 by a vote of 26-13 after a lengthy debate.

Although the House had previously passed a similar measure, the Senate vote effectively kills the proposal for the current legislative session.

MTA members contacted their senators by e-mail and phone, urging them to vote against lifting the cap. The charter provision was the most controversial portion of S. 2262, An Act Relative to Bridging Gaps in Education.

The move to kill the charter cap lift was led by Senators Kenneth Donnelly (D-Arlington) and Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville).

“I am thrilled that the cap on charter schools will not be lifted,” said MTA President Barbara Madeloni. “Many senators agreed with us that the state should be putting time and resources into creating the public schools that every student deserves rather than into new charter schools.

“I want to thank our members for their activism on this crucial issue,” Madeloni added.

Under current law, districts cannot be forced to spend more than 18 percent of their education budgets on charter schools.

If the bill had passed, the limit would have risen to 23 percent over time.

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