New law tightens enrollment at virtual schools

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- Gov. Bill Haslam has signed into law a measure to tighten enrollment requirements at privately run online schools.

The administration legislation allows beginning online schools to start with an enrollment of 1,500 and continue to expand as long as they meet performance requirements. If they fail to do so for three consecutive years, then the state education commissioner can cap enrollment, or direct the local school board to close it.

The measure passed the Senate 27-2 and the House approved it 66-29.

Haslam's initial proposal sought to cap online school enrollment at 5,000.

Critics have pushed for capping enrollment following the low performance of Tennessee Virtual Academy, the state's only privately operated virtual school.

Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman called its first-year test results "unacceptable."

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