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ACPS tracking General Assembly bills

Outside of the Community Lab School in Albemarle County
Outside of the Community Lab School in Albemarle County
Published: Jan. 23, 2022 at 8:32 PM EST
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ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (WVIR) -Albemarle County Schools is keeping a close eye on a few bills in the Virginia General Assembly.

“It’s surprising how many bills can really come in and have an impact in a school division,” ACPS Legislative and Public Affairs Officer, Helen Dunn said.

Right now, it’s looking at around 250 bills. Dunn says this year a big topic is school choice and charter schools.

“We would be concerned if any money were taken away from the public schools to be made available for like private charter schools or anything along those lines,” Dunn said. “We’re always really excited about charter schools, the way that they’ve worked in our school division.”

Dunn is referencing the Community Lab School. ACPS says it has had school choice for almost 40 years.

“The content that students learn here is identical to the content that students in any of our secondary school will learn,” Principal of the Lab School, Chad Ratliff said. “We just approach how we teach that content in very different ways.”

At this public charter school, education is funded and governed by the school board still. However, it’s function as a lab school gives it the ability to work with universities and be innovative with scheduling and teaching methods.

“We think that really is a benefit to both students and families who may want a more non-traditional approach to learning and their secondary education and we provide that,” Ratliff said.

Ratliff says current issues should not be about being a charter school or not.

Both Dunn and Ratliff say the county would benefit from more public charter schools, similar to the model of the Lab School, but private ones, are their main concern.to do that.”

Both Dunn and Ratliff say the county would benefit from more public charter schools, similar to the model of the Lab Shool, but private ones, are their main concern.

“We worry more about the possibility of funds being withheld from our public schools and used at other schools in various ways,” Dunn said.

ACPS is also looking at bills regarding COVID protocols, transportation help, and anything else that could impact its funding.

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