Five more education bills got dumped into the legislative hopper before legislators left the Capitol for a three-day weekend.

Legislature 2012 logoThe two most notable measures are Senate Bill 12-061 and Senate Bill 12-067, both of which are part of an effort to improve charter school management and authorization, a push that began in the 2010 legislative session.

SB 12-061 sets out minimum requirements for charter school applications, clarifies deadlines for applications and for responses by authorizers, creates longer initial charter terms and creates new requirements for handling of failing charter schools.

The bill is sponsored by two veterans of education legislation, Sen. Keith King, R-Colorado Springs, and Rep. Tom Massey, R-Poncha Springs and chair of the House Education Committee. The bill is part of a legislative initiative by the Colorado League of Charter Schools to implement recommendations of the Charter School and Charter School Authorizer Standards Review Committee. That study panel was created by a 2010 law to study and recommend improved procedures for charter school authorizers and for school management.

(The State Board of Education recently passed rules that use some committee recommendations as “guiding principles” for board review of charter appeals – see story.)

SB 12-067 is a related measure intended to clarify relationships between charter schools and outside management companies that sometimes are hired to operate charters. The bill would require that all charter schools be incorporated as non-profits and would also require school districts and the Charter School Institute to contract only with non-profits. For-profit charter management companies could still be hired to run schools, but the bill attempts to establish a clear separation between charter school boards and for-profit operators.

The measure is sponsored by the unlikely duo of Sen. Evie Hudak, D-Westminster, who’s generally sympathetic to teachers union and school district interests, and conservative Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Parker. The bill also has four influential Senate cosponsors, Democrats Bob Bacon and Mike Johnston and Republicans King and Nancy Spence. This is another league bill.

Bacon, a Fort Collins Democrat who’s chair of the Senate Education Committee, and Massey are the prime sponsors of Senate Bill 12-061, which would urge school districts to “consider” more transparent contracting policies for such things as education services. The bill can be seen as an attempt to shed more light on district contracting with companies and agencies that provide services for struggling schools and other management services.

SB 12-063 is probably a quixotic measure, because the sole sponsor is Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray, a Republican in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The bill would change the formula for distribution of severance tax revenues in order to create a new source of funding for rural colleges.

The other bill introduced Friday was Senate Bill 12-057, which would create a teacher authorization for instructors of Native American languages.

Use the Education Bill Tracker for links to bill texts and status information.