CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The possible creation of charter schools is one of the many issues still pending at the State House as the end of the 2015 Regular Legislative Session looms.  As of Monday, less than three weeks remain before the close of the session.

SB 14, allowing for schools that operate more independently, is one of the Republican leadership’s legislative priorities.

But Berkeley County Senator John Unger (D-Berkeley, 16) does not understand the motivation behind giving just charter schools special treatment.

“What are some of the factors that make a charter school so successful?  It’s not because we change its name, there are certain elements in that,” Unger said.  “Why not apply it to the traditional public schools and make all schools successful?”

He argued if freedom is good for charter schools, as supporters of the bill contend, lifting bureaucratic requirements for all schools would bring even more benefits.

“Let’s clear out all those mandates and everything that’s out there for the bureaucrats and politicians that heaps on the teacher and let the teacher teach,” Unger said.  “I say, if it’s good for charter schools, it’s good for traditional schools.”

The bill came out of the Senate Education Committee last week when Unger successfully added an amendment to it.  That amendment opens up the charter school option to all students in communities where charter schools are created.

“This would allow equal opportunity for students to get into a charter school as any student, regardless of whether their parent wants to apply or not.”  With the change, Unger said parents could reverse any automatic enrollment.

The bill is now pending in the Senate Finance Committee.

The 2015 Regular Legislative Session continues until March 14.