County school boards wield the most power over the future of charter schools

By Jeff Jenkins, WV MetroNews

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The state Board of Education will consider putting a 47-page policy dealing with public charter schools out for public comment when its meets Thursday in Charleston.

The proposed policy, which has been worked on during the past several months, supplements the language state lawmakers approved on the charter school issue in the education reform bill passed earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Jim Justice.

The proposal highlights the law that gives the final authority of whether a public school can be established in a particular county to that county’s board of education.

“The bottom line is the county board of education is really on the front line of taking a look at these applications and reviewing them and evaluating them to see if a charter school can meet its proposed goals,” state Department of Education Government Affairs Counsel Sarah Stewart told MetroNews Wednesday.

Local school boards “retain significant authority over charter schools,” the policy said.

Stewart has led a working group that’s been writing the proposed policy, bouncing ideas off of stakeholders and discussing options with nationally-recognized charter school organizations.

The reform law allows for three charter schools initially then three more in 2023, then three more every three years.