Local News

N.C. Charter Schools Want Lottery Payout

Posted December 14, 2006 6:21 p.m. EST

— 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.