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MT Senate backs bill to establish charter schools

By Associated Press
Published On: Apr 04 2013 07:38:39 AM MDT
HELENA, Mont. -

The Senate backed a watered-down charter school bill that was changed to give public schools more say over the new program.
    
Supporters say Senate Bill 374 would allow charter schools proven to be effective in other states.
    
It was endorsed in a 34-16 vote on Wednesday - but only after skeptics convinced the Senate to place stronger restrictions on the way the schools are established.
    
The changes will require residents to first gather local support for a school before taking the proposal to the local school board.
    
Republican sponsor Dave Lewis originally opposed the amendments, arguing they give too much authority to the traditional school system.
    
The House rejected a charter school plan earlier this session amid concern a parallel school system would siphon money from public schools.