Bill would give enrollment preference to grandchildren of charter school founders
SALT LAKE CITY — Lawmakers Thursday gave their first nod of approval to a bill that would make it easier for the grandchildren of a charter school's founder to attend that school.
Many of Utah's charter schools rely on lotteries and waiting lists to meet the demand for enrollment, but current law allows for a student to bypass that process if their parent is a school founder or a member of the school's governing board.
Under the terms of HB36, sponsored by Rep. David Lifferth, R-Eagle Mountain, that provision would be expanded to include the grandchildren of board members as well.
"All this bill does is add the word 'grandparent.' That’s the only change this bill is making," Lifferth said. "It's not opening a new avenue to get children into charter schools."
Unlike traditional public schools, charter schools are able to set a cap on enrollment and are often geared toward an educational niche, such as English language learners, competitive athletes or students interested in a particular field of study.
During Thursday's meeting of the House Education Committee, Rep. Jim Nielson, R-Bountiful, said charter schools are a valuable part of the state's public school system, but he added that in many ways they resemble private schools.
Nielson asked if the terms of the bill, which would potentially allow the enrollment of one family's children at the expense of others, took that semi-private status too far.
"Are we asking our charter schools to be more like private schools than they ought to be, given the fact that they are publicly funded?" he asked.
Chris Bleak, president of the Utah Association of Public Charter Schools, said the intent of the bill is not to foster elitism but to recognize the time and effort volunteered to a school by its board members.
"Charter schools should not become exclusive communities," Bleak said. "If that were the goal or direction, that would be inappropriate."
The bill ultimately advanced out of the committee unanimously with a favorable recommendation.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: bjaminwood
- 'Meet the Mormons' reaches $4.5 million mark,...
- Updated newborn screening test picks up rare...
- Stay lifted on adoptions by same-sex parents...
- Several national parks vandalized, including...
- National Guard, DPS weigh possible...
- Utahns support bill making clear clergy don't...
- Two killed in high-speed, fiery crash into...
- 2 hospitalized after 6-car pileup in Centerville
- Utahns support bill making clear clergy... 126
- Utahns not as strongly opposed to... 97
- Stay lifted on adoptions by same-sex... 75
- Love not attending Salt Lake City... 61
- GOP senators, congressmen offer support... 45
- Group meeting in Salt Lake to plan 2015... 34
- 'Meet the Mormons' reaches $4.5 million... 30
- Support for statewide nondiscrimination... 19