The School Flexibility Bill Would Not Allow Charter Schools. Here’s Why.

There’s been a fair amount of discussion regarding whether the Local School Control Flexibility Act is another method of allowing charter schools in Alabama.

Is this true? Would the flexibility bill allow charter schools in Alabama?

The short answer: No.

The Local Control School Flexibility Act (HB 84 and SB 54) allows for schools and systems in Alabama to apply for relief from state statutes originally created with good intentions, but that are burdensome today.

State officials in Montgomery often don’t know the ins and outs of serving individual students with specific needs in schools hundreds of miles away. The Flexibility Bill acknowledges this fact, and the bill gives local school officials an opportunity to create the most appropriate school settings and programs for students, while requiring districts to remain accountable for student growth.

However, this bill does nothing to change the governance of a local system. Local boards of education, local superintendents, principals and other administrative officials would still be in charge and answer to their respective superiors in the same institutions.

When public charter schools are present, this is not necessarily the case. As the term “charter school” implies, this type of school involves a contract, or a charter, between two parties: an authorizer and a charter school governing board. This charter allows the governing board to operate a public school.

Under the Local Control School Flexibility Act, the local school board and superintendent are in charge and accountable to their constituents.

Additionally, other states’ laws allowing for public charter schools typically grant charter school governing boards autonomy regarding personnel and salary issues. The flexibility bill specifically protects protections earned under tenure, and the state salary schedule.