Local News

N.C. Charter Schools Want Lottery Payout

Posted December 14, 2006

— Charter school leaders are demanding that the state allocate more than $2 million from the North Carolina Education Lottery to them to help pay for buildings.

The state treats charter schools like public schools, allowing tax dollars to follow students who leave their local district to enroll in charters. But charter schools must pay for their buildings, and lawmakers never included them when writing the state lottery law last year.

"It's not fair to have been left out. We already operate with fewer funds than conventional public schools. We don't want to be left out of this," Raleigh Charter High School Principal Tom Humble said.

Raleigh Charter High operates out of a refurbished textile mill north of downtown.

Nearly 100 charter schools have been approved statewide, and they are pressing for a piece of the estimated $161 million lottery payout to North Carolina public schools.

The legislative panel appointed to study lottery funding has ended its work this year, and members said they would ask the new legislature to research the issue again next year.

"It demands fuller debate than we've been able to give it," said Rep. Winkie Wilkins, D-Person.

The study group included only five House members, and lawmakers promised they would conduct a broader study next year that would include both the House and Senate.

But the decision to study the funding issue further means charter schools will have to wait at least a year before the legislature resolves matter.

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  • jwidmann Dec 28, 2006

    It should be no surprise that charter schools want a piece of the lottery pie. Charter schools must be even more diligent with the money they receive than traditional public schools because their money has to pay for everything including buildings, whereas traditional public school buildings are provided through a combination of state and local money. Charter schools are left with less money for educational purposes, yet are held to the same standards as traditional public schools including testing.

    I teach in a charter school, and see the effects of not having money to pay for buildings. We do not have a gymnasium, music room, art room, or library. We do not have a cafeteria, computer lab, or room large enough for school assemblies or parent meetings. These are the facilities that traditional schools have and take for granted. Providing funding for charter school buildings through lottery money would give us a start towards including some of these for our students.

  • sfatool Dec 24, 2006

    As a response to the first message, I would like to say that for middle school I went to a public school(Moore Square) with enormous amounts of funding as it was a new school. I currently go to a charter high school. It does not have near as much funding and even computers were donated by parents. However, the education level is much higher there. This is not due to the teachers (they are excellent at both schools) and definitely not due to the funding. It is due to the students. Public schools are always going to be inneffective as long as they are required to mix motivated and unmotivated students. No amount of money is going to fix the students' attitudes. At least not spent in politically correct ways.

  • ahawkins629 Dec 19, 2006

    rumor is the lottery money is simply a replacement... instead of spending 161 million, the legislature diverts that money somewhere else and replaces the 161M in the school budget with lotto moola..true?

  • r u crazy too Dec 18, 2006

    Surprise, surprise; charter schools want a piece of the lottery "pie". If all the money spent on charter schools, private schools, church schools, alternative schools, "middle" college schools were spent on public schools maybe we could actually do some teaching in the public school system.