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Arkansas panel backs change to charter school process

Posted: March 12, 2013 at 1:59 p.m.

A House committee has approved legislation that would change the way Arkansas approves charter schools applications.

The House Education Committee on Tuesday advanced legislation that would designate the state Education Department and not the Board of Education as the primary authorizer of charter schools. The proposal by Republican Rep. Mark Biviano of Searcy now heads to the House for a vote.

Biviano's proposal would require the state education commissioner to appoint a panel of his staff to review and approve charter school applications. The Board of Education would have the power to review that panel's decisions.

Biviano had originally proposed legislation that would have taken the power to approve charter schools from the state board and would have created a new independent commission to consider applications.

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