EAA, Conversion Schools Come Up Short
Two significant pieces of education legislation fell short of the votes needed to pass during lame duck. Neither the Education Achievement Authority (EAA) bills, nor the Conversion Schools bill (also known as parent-trigger legislation) could garner the support to move through the legislative process.
As initially introduced, the Education Achievement Authority bills (HB 6004/SB 1358) would have created a statewide superdistrict with sweeping authority to take over Priority Schools, force the sale or lease of unused school buildings, and authorize so-called new forms of schools. Through negotiations and a series of amendments, the school community was able to significantly improve the bill from its original form, but in the end the concept still fell short of the support needed to pass in either the House or Senate.
The conversion school legislation (SB 620) would have created a so-called parent-trigger that would allow parents of children in Priority School to petition the district to force the adoption a school turnaround model for that building. Under the bill, if parents choose to force the chartering of the building the local district would have been forced to lease the facility to the charter authorizer for $1. Supporters worked until the final hours of the lame duck session to push the legislation through, but ultimately were unsuccessful.
Both issues will most likely return for further debate next year, but a significantly smaller Republican majority in the House may tend to moderate the tone of future legislation.