House Passes Controversial Charter School Bill by a Close Vote

Media Statement

For Immediate Release: February 22, 2018

Ross Chambless, Communications Specialist
Utah House Democratic Caucus
(801) 326-1568 |

House Passes Controversial Charter School Bill by a Close Vote

Salt Lake City - Today the House voted 38 to 33 in favor of passing H.B. 313, “Charter School Revisions”. The bill would weaken the Utah State School Board’s oversight authority over charter schools. Currently, when a local school district, the State Charter School Board or a state higher education institution wants to authorize a new charter school, they must get a final vote of approval by the state school board. The bill would remove the school board’s vote, and instead direct the board to establish minimum criteria and rules for those authorizing charter schools to follow when evaluating applications.  All of the House Democrats voted against the bill. 

Rep. Marie Poulson said, “This bill diminishes the powers of the state school board. These are public funds being used, and basically, with this bill we’re turning it over to people who are not elected. The Utah School Boards Association and the Utah Education Association oppose this, and so do the school districts I represent.”

Rep. Joel Briscoe said, “I like the idea of having different ideas out there contributing to our education system, and one of my daughters graduated from a charter school. But I find it curious the sponsor recognizes the state school board has a responsibility here to make minimum standards, but they can’t actually implement a review and evaluation under this bill. This is too drastic a change at this time.”  

The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.