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NV District Backs Charter, Online Changes

“Schools push to change rules on charter schools, online classes”
by Trevon Milliard
Las Vegas Review-Journal
December 7, 2012

Clark County school officials want to change several rules regarding charter schools and online classes, according to a pair of bill draft requests the district is backing for the Nevada Legislature’s 2013 session.

The first bill would help charter schools, which operate through a contract with the State Public Charter School Authority or a school district. These schools are autonomous and privately run but must still meet student performance standards. If not, the district or state authority could revoke their charter, shutting them down.

A common complaint from charter school operators is that they’re “funded to fail.” That is because they receive the same per pupil funding as the district they are in, but they do not have help with the cost of providing a facility and cannot seek a bond or tax increase, like districts, to pay for it.

And school districts are not allowed to let charter schools use their public facilities.

These rules often lead to “unsatisfactory” designations by national charter school organizations, said Joyce Haldeman, the district’s associate superintendent of community and government relations.

Clark County School District, which sponsors seven of Nevada’s 32 charter schools, would like charter schools to be allowed in public facilities, she said.

The second bill would make several changes to rules for online classes.

Currently, a student must go through an extensive process to attend an online course offered by a district other than their own.

Haldeman said many rural students are interested in Clark County’s online courses, which aren’t offered in their district, but must get approval of both the Clark County and their school board.

The district would like that requirement removed.

The other change would allow an unlicensed teacher to supervise a class taught online by a licensed teacher.

State law requires a licensed teacher in the room though they serve as a supervisor and do not instruct.

The new amendment would reduce the cost of online courses, Haldeman said.

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