In Final Minutes Of Marathon Meeting, State Senators Pass For-Profit Charter Schools

Charter Schools USA of Florida and Michigan-based National Heritage Academies have hired lobbyists for the last two years to help get for-profit charter schools allowed in Tennessee. Credit: Charter Schools USA

Charter Schools USA of Florida and Michigan-based National Heritage Academies have hired lobbyists for the last two years to help get for-profit charter schools allowed in Tennessee. Credit: Charter Schools USA

A bill paving the way for investor-owned companies to run charter schools in Tennessee passed at the end of a nearly six-hour committee meeting Wednesday night. Weary members of the Senate Education panel voted six to three, sending the proposal on to the full Senate.

Sen. Reginald Tate (D-Memphis) voted no.

“I don’t think that is a proper move for us – whether its at a charter school or not,” Tate said in the nearly-empty hearing room. “I think it opens the door for monopolies.”

Sen. Steve Dickerson (R-Nashville) was the only Republican to vote against for-profit charter schools.

The House Education Committee is scheduled to take up for-profit charter schools next week. Several out-of-state companies have hired lobbyists to help them change Tennessee law, which restricts the operation of charter schools to non-profit organizations.

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