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The newly formed Maine State Charter School Commission is taking to the road to hear the public’s ideas on what they want to see in a charter school. Read more.

AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE ABOUT THE IRS PROPOSED RULE ISSUE

Dear Charter School Leader:

In response to your dozens of calls and emails, I am writing with good news about a much-publicized issue regarding charter school teachers’ state retirement eligibility.

We spoke directly with Pamela Kinard, the lead IRS employee collecting and responding to the comments that are coming in. The IRS has spent the last 6 years preparing for the ADVANCED Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) on “Determination of Governmental Plan Status.”

Nothing in the regulations is directly aimed at charter schools. There is nothing that is becoming final this summer. In fact, because this is an ADVANCED NPRM, these are not even Proposed Regulations yet. They are an early draft of what is likely — in 1-2 years time — to be proposed by the IRS as proposed regulations in a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for additional further comment, hearings, and eventual publication in a final rule. It may be 2-3 or more years from now before a final set of regulations on this topic is finalized.

In the meantime, there will be multiple comment periods — like the one closing in now on June 18 — and multiple public hearings. The IRS has already loudly heard the concerns that there may be a charter school issue in these proposed regulations and reports that it was completely unanticipated. It is NOT true that charter schools will be automatically denied participation in state retirement plans in June and that it will be retroactive.

It is important to know that there is a current 5-factor test to determine whether an entity is eligible for being part of a government retirement plan. This ANPRM proposes for discussion — not for adoption — some changes to that five-factor test, modernizing it. It is YEARS away from final adoption. It is a tough test currently

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Dems, GOP Offer Charter Amendments

“Republicans, Democrats offer charter school amendments”
By Nancy Badertscher and Christopher Quinn
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
February 7, 2012

Republicans scrambled in the face of opposition Tuesday to rework a proposed state constitutional amendment that would reassert the state’s right to approve charter schools.

Democrats, the minority in both the House and Senate, announced their own version of an amendment that they say would give the state that right while limiting government reach into local school decisions.

Both proposals address last year’s Georgia Supreme Court ruling, declaring unconstitutional the Georgia Charter School Commission and its authority to approve and fund charter schools over the objections of local school boards. The ruling was considered a setback for 16 state-approved charter schools — eight that were open and eight that had planned to open next fall — and for the charter/choice movement in Georgia.

The House Education Committee met Tuesday to approve changes to Republican-sponsored House Resolution 1167. Its chief sponsor, Speaker Pro Tem Jan Jones, R-Milton, said the changes would allow the state to approve charter schools while addressing concerns that the amendment was too broad and would allow the state to create all kinds of schools.

“I think there’s a lot of support on the floor for this,” Education Committee Chairman Brooks Coleman, R-Duluth, said after the revised amendment cleared committee Tuesday.

House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, D-Atlanta, said Jones’ resolution would give the General Assembly “unchecked and unprecedented power” in local school decisions, including allowing it to redirect local money to schools that had not been approved locally.

Rep. Scott Holcomb, D-Atlanta, filed House Resolution 1335, which asserts the state’s right to create charter schools but limits funding to state dollars.

School superintendents were reviewing both amendments Tuesday. Last year’s Supreme Court ruling came in a lawsuit by superintendents, including Alvin Wilbanks in Gwinnett County, who said that state

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Fact-Checking Charter School Achievement

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Closed Charter Schools By State 2011

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Charter School Law Rankings 2011

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