Senate passes bill to fund charter schools

By Matthew Young, RealWV

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – The State Senate, on Monday, passed a bill which seeks to fund charter schools with taxpayer dollars. Sponsored by Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson, SB 47 – if enacted – would award grants of as much as $400,000 for the purposes of establishing a new “qualifying charter school.”

Sen. Patricia Rucker, R-Jefferson.

As explained by Sen. Eric Tarr, R-Putnam, “This bill would create the charter school stimulus fund. The purpose of the fund is to offer financial support to communities who wish to start a charter school.”

According to Tarr, in addition to legislative appropriation, funding for these charter schools would come in the form of “grants, gifts, donations, and interests.”

“The bill provides an initial grant of $300,000 in the first two years of operation, and an additional grant of $100,000 after receiving that initial [payment],” Tarr said. 

Under the terms of the bill, if a funded charter school fails to become operational within 30 months, they will be required to reimburse the state the full amount of grants received, plus 10% interest annually. 

With no further discussion or debate, SB 47 was passed by a vote of 32 to 1, with only Sen. Mike Caputo, D-Marion, voting against passage. The bill will now be reported to the House of Delegates for their consideration. 

The RealWV will provide updates regarding the status of SB 47 as additional information is made available. 

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