The rapid growth of the charter school industry could come to a screeching halt in Nevada, thanks to a bill introduced Monday.
The proposed bill, AB462, would prohibit the approval or opening of new charter schools until Jan. 1, 2021.
The bill is sponsored by the Assembly Committee on Education.
State law currently allows public school districts, state colleges and universities, and the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority to approve new charter schools, though only the authority is regularly doing so. An estimated 46,000 students were enrolled in Nevada charters during the 2017-2018 school year. The authority has stated it wants to grow that number to 60,000 by 2020.
If it were considered a district, the charter school authority would be the third largest in the state.
Charter schools are publicly funded schools run privately by nonprofit or for-profit corporations. Criticism of charter schools has grown nationwide. In California, where 10 percent of students are enrolled in charters, school boards of traditional districts and legislators are increasingly calling for the curbing of growth.
Twenty-one states have established caps on charter school growth, and another seven states do not authorize charter schools at all, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
Concerned that charter school growth has been siphoning money from traditional public schools, the Clark County School District last year stepped up a marketing program to confront charter schools more directly.
Both the Nevada State Education Association and the Clark County Education Association have called for charter school growth to be halted until their standard of accountability is higher than the existing standards for public schools.
Earlier this year a national charter schools advocacy organization put “no caps” on charter school growth at the top of the list of things the group liked about Nevada’s laws.