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State Panel Mulls Charter School Expansion

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AUSTIN (AP) - A Senate education panel is discussing sweeping legislation to expand charter schools in Texas.

State Sen. Dan Patrick filed Senate Bill 2 this week, and the Education Committee the Houston Republican chairs is reviewing it Thursday.

The measure would lift the current limit of 215 licenses to operate charter schools statewide and create a special oversight board. It also seeks to allow charter schools to receive public money for facilities expenses, not just for operations as under present state law.

Charter schools already educate about 135,000 of the 5 million-plus Texas public school students. Patrick has made increasing “school choice” a signature issue, though traditional school leaders are wary.

Past efforts to overhaul Texas charter school laws have fizzled, not drawing much support from either party.

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