Charter panel bill stalls in Senate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – A proposal that would create a special panel to authorize charter schools in five of the state’s lowest performing counties appears to be struggling in the Legislature.

The measure was delayed in the Senate Finance Committee on Tuesday after members expressed concerns about the need for a new entity that will pay its executive director more than $100,000.

Currently local school boards decide whether to authorize a charter application. There are 48 charter schools in Tennessee.

Under the proposal, applicants rejected in Davidson, Hamilton, Hardeman, Knox and Shelby counties could appeal to the nine-member panel that would be appointed by the governor and speakers of the House and Senate.

Members also expressed concern that the bill doesn’t spell out the qualifications needed to be a part of the panel.