State House News Service
BOSTON -- Consecutive Senate votes on Wednesday afternoon derailed a late-session effort to allow more charter schools in underperforming districts.
Senators first defeated a proposal offered by their Ways and Means Committee and then went on to reject a cap-lifting bill that had cleared the House.
"I don't think there will be any more discussion of charter schools this session," said a disappointed Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, who supported the bill.
"I'm doing super-well right now," Tom Gosnell, president of American Federation of Teachers-Massachusetts, one of the unions opposed to the bill, told the News Service in a phone interview after the vote. "I congratulate the Senate on its vote today."
The Ways and Means bill was defeated, 26-13, and the Senate then rejected the House bill, which netted only nine votes in favor with 30 against.
"The majority of the Senate does not support raising the cap. It's a shame," said Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz, D-Jamaica Plain, who co-chairs the Legislature's Education Committee.
In a statement, Massachusetts Charter Public School Association President Marc Kenen said: "The Senate's rejection of legislation to lift the cap on charter public schools is an affront to parents whose children are trapped in underperforming district schools. An opportunity to expand access to high-performing public schools has been lost."
Kenen said 45,000 children on waiting lists for charter schools and alleged that "misinformation about charters is driving policy at the Statehouse."