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2022 Charter School Champion - Senator Chuck Wiger

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2022 Charter School Champion - Senator Chuck Wiger Image

The Minnesota Association of Charter Schools is proud to recognize your leadership in authoring legislation championing public school education and charter schools throughout your 26 years in the Minnesota Senate.

When one looks through the Senate records over the last 25 years, the name “Senator Chuck Wiger” appears on dozens, if not almost all, education legislation whether it be school safety, antibullying training, school lunch aid, character education, online learning, pre-k programs, economic education, school buses, telecommunications aid, indoor air quality standards in schools, access to counseling services, student achievement goals, full-service community schools, literacy, fully fund special education, gifted and talented education, reading and math corps, PSEO, full-day kindergarten, intra-district school choice, criminal background checks for non-licensed personnel in the classroom, voluntary school accreditation, CPR training for students, digital student achievement backpacks, PELSB, the creation of the P-20 Council, site-based decision making, crisis management plans and policies, tying the general education formula to the inflation rate, or chartered public schools. And this is just a sample of the legislation he has authored or co-authored.

Public education has been at the heart of his legislative career since the beginning. In 1997, three of the first five bills he introduced as a freshman Senator were education related. One of those bills included provisions to eliminate requirements which limited the creation of new charter schools – including the then cap on the number of charter schools, the percentage of teachers required to convert from a traditional school to a charter, and one that limited appeals to the state board when a local district voted against chartering a school.   

Over the years, he authored or co-authored numerous bills regarding charters, some of which were enacted and some that did make it into law.  The recodification of the charter school law being what did, and enrollment preference for sober and performing arts schools that did not.

However, it was his support and championing of charter school legislation as Chairman of the Senate Education Committee that has had a lasting impact. In 2009, his leadership as Committee Chair led to the enactment of the sweeping changes in the charter school law, which dealt with numerous provisions including:  sponsors becoming authorizers, charter school governance, conflict of interest, charter school leadership, as well as legalizing affiliated building companies. In 2010, he set in motion the process to create and pass legislation in the Senate which would have allowed direct ownership of buildings and provide state bonding for charter school facilities. Unfortunately, in the wee hours of the last day of the conference committee, the House would not agree to the legislation.

Over the last decade, Senator Wiger has continued to author and co-author bills put forth by the Association to refine the charter school law.

Throughout his legislative career - no matter the issue – Senator Wiger has demonstrated a commitment for innovation and change in education to ensure that all public-school students have a safe and healthy learning environment and quality educational opportunities that provide them choices within public education. He has done so with honesty, integrity, dedication, and forceful yet quiet diplomacy.

So, on behalf of the members of the Minnesota Association of Charter Schools, it is an honor and privilege to call you, Senator Chuck Wiger, a “Charter School Champion”.

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