Monday, January 31, 2011

SB11-069, Charter Educational Management Organizations

SB11-069 has been introduced by Sen. Hudak (D-Arvada, Westminster). The title is "Educational Management Organizations," which in the bill, has a very broad definition to include nonprofits that replicate existing successful schools.

The bill establishes a fee-based certification process through CDE that is similar to the online certification process enacted in 2007, SB 215. The process requires CDE to evaluate an application and then provide continuing monitoring and oversight. The bill also limits the terms of contracts with EMOs to two years subject to annual review. It requires a charter school using an EMO to review the EMO's performance at least annually.

SB 69 also requires the HB 1412, charter school standards and charter school authorizer standards advisory committee, to make recommendations on EMOs. On Jan. 5th the committee held a hearing on management company issues.

In Colorado, the term Education Service Provider (ESP) is generally used for all sorts of management companies. EMOs are generally for-profit management companies and Charter Management Organizations (CMOs) are nonprofit. CMOs may include one-off replications. Hudak's bill defines EMOs to mean all types of management companies and doesn't clearly differentiate for vendors contracting with districts for specific services such as operating an online school.

The sample contract language has an attachment dealing with ESP provisions that should be considered by charter school governing boards and charter school authorizers. Further, the contract has an attachment for board members to disclose a number of things including a conflict of interest with the management company. These types of examples provide increased awareness about the issues of greatest concern for quality relationships.

Update: SB 69 will be heard in Senate Education on Thursday, Feb. 10th.

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