published Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Bill OKs for-profit entities to manage Tennessee charter schools

NASHVILLE — A proposal that would allow a charter school to be operated by a for-profit entity narrowly advanced out of the House Education Committee.

The measure sponsored by Democratic Rep. John DeBerry of Memphis was approved 8-7 on Tuesday.

Sponsors of the legislation say it's necessary to help charter schools that may need help with management. Currently, Tennessee has 69 charter schools, which are publicly financed but operated independently.

However, opponents of the proposal believe some operators may take advantage of the funds. For instance, some for-profit companies purchase land and build brand new charter schools. Republican Rep. Ron Loller of Bartlett said the entity may turn around and sell the building and profit from the public funds used to build it.

The companion bill is awaiting a vote in the Senate Education Committee.

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