Three more groups win approval to sponsor Minn. charter schoolsby Tom Weber, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Three more groups have won state approval to sponsor charter schools in Minnesota as part of a new law meant to make so-called authorizers more accountable.
Authorizers don't actually run charters, but the new law requires them to be more involved in the fiscal and academic oversight of the schools they sponsor.
All current authorizers must re-apply with the state if they want to keep sponsoring charter schools.
"We've gotten to the phase where it's time to tighten up the rigor of what it means to be an authorizer, to make sure they understand their role and their accountability," said Karen Klinzing, Minnesota's deputy education commissioner.
With these latest three approvals, there are now nine organizations that can sponsor charter schools starting this summer. The state has rejected 20 other applications, but Klinzing said she expects some of them will still gain approval after amending their bids.
The authorizers who won approval in this second round are: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, which currently sponsors one charter school; Pillsbury United Communities, which currently sponsors 13 schools; and Innovative Quality Schools, which is a new organization that has never sponsored charters.
The six authorizers that previously won approval during the first round were: Anoka Technical College, Friends of Education, Minneapolis Public Schools, Novation Education Opportunities, Student Achievement Minnesota, and Volunteers of America - Minnesota.