Legislation seeking 3-year moratorium on new charter schools introduced Thursday
State Rep. David Rutledge, D-Superior Township, introduced bipartisan legislation Thursday that would establish a three-year moratorium for new charter schools in communities where two public schools consolidate.
If implemented, the bill potentially could have a large impact on Washtenaw County.
In July, the school boards of Willow Run Community Schools and Ypsilanti Public Schools voted in favor of placing the question of consolidation on the November 2012 ballot for voters in the two districts.
The bill would only apply when voters approve a consolidation. A new charter school would not be authorized without the approval of the intermediate school district overseeing the consolidated district.
"This bill will protect a newly merged school district from companies attempting to capitalize on the tenuous transition of consolidating," Rutledge said in a statement. "The intent of this legislation is not to shut out charter schools, but to ensure that community-governed districts needing to consolidate have the time to do so."
Bill Rogers, R-Brighton, and Rutledge attended a joint board meeting at Eastern Michigan University in August and vowed to help in any way they could if voters pass the consolidation proposal in November. Rogers co-sponsored the bill.
Currently, there are five charter schools in the Ypsilanti area, two of which just opened this fall. WSC Academy, a new alternative charter high school, and South Pointe Scholars Academy.
South Pointe received 1,275 applications and turned away 670 enrollees for its first year. About 30 percent of the school's students have addresses in the Ypsilanti and Willow-Run school districts.