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Senate postpones vote on McDonnell charter school proposal

Anita Kumar

The Senate Education and Health Committee delayed a vote today on Gov. Bob McDonnell's education package, including his proposal to expand the number of charter schools in Virginia.

Chairman Ed Houck made the decision after his fellow Democrats were split on whether to support one of the Republican governor's signature issues this session, which left some concerned the bill would not pass. The vote likely will occur next Thursday.

Many people spoke in favor of the bill, including former governor Doug Wilder's Secretary of Education Jim Dyke and a member of the Georgia legislature. Others, including Virginia NAACP executive director King Salim Khalfani opposed the bill.

McDonnell's office has been working behind the scenes to negotiate a compromise with groups that represent teachers, school boards and superintendents -- all vocal in their opposition to the bill -- to return some power to the local boards and ease concerns about the state having final control over applications.

Under the compromise, the state board of education would review charter school applications but final approval would remain with local school boards. But the legislative black caucus remains largely opposed despite supporting a similar bill by Del. Bob Marshall.

Coincidentally, McDonnell had a long scheduled dinner with the black caucus at the Executive Mansion last night, though we hear many of them did not show.

By Anita Kumar  |  February 25, 2010; 1:35 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  
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