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Bill Number

HB 3

Patron

Bell
Recd by Governors Office

Committee

Referral Pending

Action by Gov. Due

Bill Summary:
HB 3 would amend the Constitution of Virginia to grant the Board of Education the authority, subject to criteria and
conditions prescribed by the General Assembly, to establish charter schools within the school divisions of the
Commonwealth. Currently, the Constitution of Virginia at Article VIII Section 4 provides that the general supervision
of the public school system shall be vested in a Board of Education. In addition Article VIII Section 5 sets out the
powers and duties of the Board of Education. Section 22.1-28 of the Code of Virginia (COV) provides that the
supervision of schools in each school division shall be vested in a school board selected as provided in this chapter or
as otherwise provided by law. In addition, 22.1-79 of the COV (powers and duties of a school board) provides that
school boards shall operate and maintain the public schools in the school division, insofar as not inconsistent with
state statutes and regulations of the Board of Education. Delegate Bells HB 3 is related to Delegate Bells HJ 1 and
Senator Obenshains SJ 6.
HB 3 outlines the process by which the ballot will be prepared, distributed, voted on, and the results of the election
ascertained and certified. The proposed ballot question will read as follows:
Question: Shall Section 5 of Article VIII be amended to grant the Board of Education the authority to establish charter
schools within the school divisions of the Commonwealth, subject to criteria and conditions that may be prescribed by
the General Assembly?
The ballot process will follow the manner prescribed by Section 24.2-684 of the Code of Virginia (COV) and Section
30-19.9 of the COV. Section 24.2-684 establishes no referendum shall be placed on the ballot unless specifically
authorized by statute or by charter, the referendum shall in every case be held pursuant to a court order, the ballot
must appear in plain English, and the ballot shall be prepared by the appropriate electoral board and distributed to the
appropriate precincts.
Section 30.19.9 states the proposed explanation of the amendment shall be printed and distributed not less than
ninety days prior to the election, copies of a neutral explanation of no more than 500 words of such amendment
created by the Division of Legislative Services and approved by the Committee on Privileges and Elections will be
placed at each registration site on the day of the election. The amendment explanation will also be available on the
Internet and published in daily newspapers. Any failure to comply with the provisions of this section shall not affect
the validity of the constitutional amendment.
The State Board will report the outcome of the vote to the Governor, who will make a proclamation of the vote, stating
the vote for and against the amendment. If the majority vote in favor of the amendment, it will be effective as of
January 1, 2017.

Affected Constituents Summary:


In Virginia, charter schools provide options for parents and students while allowing communities and educators to
create innovative instructional programs that can be replicated elsewhere in the public school system. All charter
schools in Virginia are nonsectarian alternative public schools located within a school division and under the authority
of a local school board.
At this time, there are nine public charter schools operating in Virginia:

Murray High School, Albemarle County

The Albemarle Community Public Charter School, Albemarle County

Middleburg Community Charter School, Loudoun County

York River Academy, York County

Patrick Henry School of Science and Arts, Richmond City

Green Run Collegiate, Virginia Beach

Richmond Career Education and Employment Academy, Richmond City

Hillsboro Charter Academy, Loudon County

Metropolitan Preparatory Academy, Richmond

Legislation approved by the 2010 General Assembly increased the level of state support and guidance in the
development of charter schools in Virginia to ensure that local school boards receive quality charter school proposals.
Pursuant to 22.1-212.9 of the Code of Virginia, public charter school applications shall be received and reviewed by
the Board of Education and local school boards or, in the case of a regional public charter school, by all of the
relevant school boards. Charter school applications initiated by local school boards are not required to be reviewed
by the Board of Education.
This resolution proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia to grant the Board of Education the authority,
subject to criteria and conditions prescribed by the General Assembly, to establish charter schools within the school
divisions of the Commonwealth. Some school boards might object to what might be considered usurping their
authority to establish and oversee schools. In addition, there is a question as to how this process would be staffed
and funded.

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