Wed January 11, 2012

EdNews: Online Bill Still Being Crafted

A bill proposing changes in funding and regulation of online schools could be ready for introduction in a couple of weeks, but the details are still being hammered out, Senate President Brandon Shaffer says.

Shaffer, a Longmont Democrat, has long raised questions about online schools, a rapidly growing segment of Colorado education. He considered introducing legislation during the 2011 session but didn’t, and late last year he asked the state auditor to conduct an emergency audit of online schools.

Articles published last October by Education News Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network found the state is spending $100 million a year on online schools that are largely failing their students and that the state funding system allows schools to retain state money after students have left.

Shaffer’s request was rebuffed Nov. 8 by the Legislative Audit Committee on a 4-4 party-line vote. After that decision Shaffer promised legislation to “rein in” online schools, saying, “Despite overwhelming evidence of widespread fraud and abuse by online schools, they blocked an audit that would have saved Colorado taxpayers millions of dollars.” 

Shaffer indicated the bill would address funding of online schools and give the state Department of Education additional regulatory tools over online schools.

The political chances for the bill are in question due to Shaffer's position as a Democratic candidate in the 4th Congressional District. More on this discussion can be found in the full article at Education News Colorado. [source: Todd Engdahl, Online Bill Still Being Crafted]