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Charter school advocates protest enrollment cap

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SANTA FE (AP) — Advocates for charter schools in New Mexico are criticizing a bill to increase state educational funding that would place a cap student enrollment at autonomous public schools for one year.

Objections to the limit on charter school growth were raised Monday as a Senate panel took up a proposal to increase state spending by more than $300 million for at-risk students, to extend annual class time and to boost minimum teacher salaries.

The bill would cap charter school enrollment at 27,000 students for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

Democratic state Sen. Mimi Stewart of Albuquerque is sponsoring the bill and says it leaves room for about 1,000 new charter school students. She says charter schools have consumed a disproportionately large portion of new educational spending over the past decade.

Democratic Sen. Bill O'Neill called the measure a "frontal assault" on a rapidly growing charter school in Albuquerque where he serves as a board member.

About 8 percent of students in New Mexico attend charter schools.


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