Oregon House passes bill limiting online charter schools

A bill that puts the brakes on online public charter schools in Oregon narrowly won approval in the state House of Representatives, reports the Statesman Journal of Salem. After 90 minutes of contentious debate, the House voted 31-28 to pass Senate Bill 767. The bill now heads to a conference committee before returning to state lawmakers for final approval. The bill creates a task force to study virtual charter schools. It also places a two-year moratorium on new virtual charter schools and limits enrollment at existing virtual charters. Supporters of the bill say online schools were not even considered when the state wrote its charter school law 10 years ago. Oregon currently has about 4,000 students enrolled in nine virtual charter schools. The bill is necessary to make sure virtual charter schools are financially accountable and provide equal access to all students, they say. But opponents say the bill’s real intent is to kill the state’s largest online charter school, Oregon Connections Academy, which has 2,700 students this year. Most of those students do not live in the Scio School District, which sponsors the charter. They accused the bill’s supporters of bowing to the demands of the Oregon Education Association, which backed the bill…

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