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One charter school bill backed by the governor is most likely dead for this year's session

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Governor Glenn Youngkin wants 20 new charter schools in Virginia. Three major bills to get that done have been introduced. Jahd Khalil reports that one bill was sent to the full House of Delegates, but another of the Governor’s bills died Wednesday.

Delegate Glenn Davis introduced two bills on charter schools this session. One would have allowed the state Board of Education to rule on charter school applications. But this morning, Davis asked the Education Committee to pass it by.

With no more Education Committee meetings before a key deadline, the bill won’t be taken up by the House of Delegates.

That puts more pressure on another of Davis’s charter school bills.

“This is a major initiative," he explains. "It allows us to bring 21st century technology and innovation that exists in our higher universities of higher education into high schools.”

The bill would loosen regulations on who can establish a “lab school.” Right now only universities with teacher education programs can start a “lab school.” This would broaden it to all universities, and also allow private businesses to participate in lab schools as well. Delegate Schuyler Van Valkenberg says that blurs an important distinction.

“And what this bill is is making lab schools charter schools,” Valkenberg says. 

Davis says that some minor pieces of the now-dead charter school bill have made it into the lab school bill, and that more could still.

The lab school bill advanced and will be considered by the full House of Delegates. The Senate has not acted on similar versions of the bill that died in the House committee that were introduced in that chamber.

Macaulay Porter, the governor's spokeswoman, provided this statement in response to Wednesday's developments in the House of Delegates:

"The governor is working with a bipartisan group of lawmakers on legislation to expand lab schools as part of the Day One Game Plan, and he looks forward to a path forward.”

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Jahd Khalil is a reporter and producer in Richmond.