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State advisory board pushes second chance for denied charters, speedier application timeline

charterschools-300x202It remains to be seen whether members of the State Board of Education will go along with it, but the Charter School Advisory Board (CSAB) took the first steps Thursday in amending the state’s application process for prospective new charters.

The policy recommendations unanimously approved by the charter board Thursday include the stipulation that, before the state board can deny an application for a potential new charter approved by the CSAB, the application would be shuttled back to the CSAB for further review.

The new policy would also speed up the timeline for charter applications. Currently, the state board is required to give its annual approval of new charters in August, but the timeline backed Thursday by CSAB would mandate a vote by the state board come no later than June, unless an application has been sent back to the CSAB for further review.

The policy revisions are a response to this summer’s vote by the state board to turn down five charter applicants backed by the CSAB, a vote that prompted a swift and angry response from charter backers.

As charter board members noted Thursday, the policy recommendations will, of course, require the support of the State Board of Education as well.

Charter board members said that the amended timeline comes following complaints that the state board’s controversial August vote this year came with too little time remaining under state statute for charter applicants and the CSAB to answer questions about potential new schools.

Charter supporters have also complained that a state board denial currently forces applicants to restart the process, which could delay a school’s opening by months.

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