A bill on charter schools will be a top priority for Republicans in the legislative session that begins next week. The proposal would allow up to 10 new charter schools in the state each year. However, it would allow school systems to also convert an unlimited number of existing schools to charter status. Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says charters would provide more options to parents, and allow school systems to innovate. The bill is expected to draw opposition from Democrats and the Alabama Education Association, who argue that new charter schools would draw money away from existing schools. Charter schools are publicly funded schools that operate outside the rules and regulations of regular public schools.