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VOL. 36 | NO. 15 | Friday, April 13, 2012




Foreign charter school limit heads to governor

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NASHVILLE (AP) - A bill seeking to limit the number of foreign workers at Tennessee charter schools is on its way for the governor's consideration.

The measure sponsored by Republican Rep. Judd Matheny of Tullahoma passed the House on a 63-29 vote on Monday. The Senate passed its version last week on an 18-13 vote.

Under the bill, a chartering authority would not be allowed to approve a charter school application if the school plans to hire 3.5 percent of foreign workers from H1B or J-1 visa programs. The bill would allow exemptions to the limit for foreign language teachers.

Supporters said the measure is intended to encourage charter schools to hire from within Tennessee first, though the bill makes no mention of state lines. Rep. Rick Womick, a Republican from Murfreesboro, said state funds are going to charter schools and American workers should have a priority over foreign employees.

"This is a jobs bill for Tennessee teach ers," Womick said. "They get preference in hiring over any foreign workers."

But Rep. Mike Turner, a Nashville Democrat, said Matheny has been led astray on the purpose of the bill, which Turner said was originally written to target certain charter schools that are operated by foreigners.

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