Sunday, May 14, 2017

Senator Mark Obenshain Statement on Gillespie Charter School Support

May 11, 2017

Democrat Opponents Oppose Charter Expansion in Virginia


HARRISONBURG—Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) expressed his appreciation on the announcement today by Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie that he supports charter school expansion should he be elected in November.  Obenshain commented about Gillespie's release.

"I am proud to join Ed Gillespie in support of charter school expansion in Virginia.  I have been a passionate advocate for charter schools for more than a decade.  Virginia has just nine charter schools that serve 2,000 students.  If we are serious about providing a lifeline for children and parents in failing school divisions then that has to change," Obenshain said.

"This past session I introduced SB1283 which would have created regional charter public school divisions, to serve localities in excess of 3,000 students, and with one or more schools having been denied accreditation two out of the past three years.  SB 1283 would have applied to just ten school divisions in Virginia, and would not have diverted any local taxpayer funding from schools.  Currently, charter schools in Virginia can only be authorized by their public school division. Unfortunately, Governor McAuliffie vetoed that bill."

Obenshain continued, "It is unfortunate that Democratic gubernational candidates Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello have publicly stated they oppose charter schools.  These candidates continue to cater to the interests of teachers' unions over families and children facing failing schools.  Rather than offering a choice to children in failing school divisions, they prefer the status quo – failing grades, failing schools, and failing futures," said Obenshain.

"Ed Gillespie understands the value of educational choice and the successes that charter schools have seen in Virginia and around the nation.  He will be a strong leader in education when elected Governor and will ensure every child has access to a quality education regardless of where they live," Obenshain continued.

Read the Gillespie full press release on charter schools here

Senator Obenshain represents the twenty-sixth district in the Virginia Senate.  The district includes the city of Harrisonburg and the counties of Warren, Shenandoah, Page, Rappahannock and Rockingham (part). He is Chair of the Senate Courts of Justice Committee and is Vice-Chair of the Virginia State Crime Commission.