Liveblogging Senate Education Charter Schools hearing
Liveblog: NC Senate Education hearing on S8, No Cap on Number of Charter Schools.Posted — Updated
Meeting adjourned. More next week.
First up: Ann McColl, legislative liaison for state Board of Education. Says Board has asked lawmakers to consider increasing the cap on charters, but they're concerned about the governance issues. Points to Article 9 Sec 5 of state Constitution, which gives public school oversight to the State Board of Education. She says Board would be fine with advisory board for charters (I think they used to have one, actually - LL). Says current DPI office for charters "works hard," and other offices provide support, too.
Tillman: calling for some public/agency comments, two from each side.
Those in favor will go first.
Sen. Linda Garrou (D-Forsyth) expresses concern about what this bill would do to funding at the public schools.
"Could we go from 100 to, like, 300 in one year?" Stein asked.
Stevens: "In this version of the bill, there is no cap whatsoever."
McKissick adds that charters are diverse today, by and large, but says the state needs to pay attention to that going forward. Also expresses concerns that charters will drain lottery money away from public schools.
Robinson: what about counties that already have school bonds in place? Stevens: well, they'd have to pay them off., But they could use some of the money for charters.
Stevens and staff say charters would still have to adhere to the standards set by the state Board of Ed. Says all existing standards remain in place - the bill just shifts the authority to the Commission instead of the Board.
Sen Malcolm Graham (D-Meck) thanks Stevens for bringing the bill forward. "We need to do things a little bit differently moving forward, and charters may be part of that. But as you know the devil's in the details." Says he's concerned about separation of oversight, and is afraid this will create a dual system of charters and public schools.
Sen Bill Purcell (D-Scotland) says the state has worked hard to desegregate schools. "Why would we want to make it easier for a public charter school to be a segregated school, which this appears it does?"
Sen. Stevens: "I don't think it does that." Says current charter school populations are diverse, and schools can be opened to serve different populations.
Bill would allow counties to allocate some of their lottery funding for school construction to charter schools.
Would allow cities and counties to supply capital for charters and/or lease property to them.
State Board of Education would be required to transfer funding and staff from Office of Charter Schools to the new Commission.
Commission would be funded by a fee paid by schools: 1% of gross per-pupil allotment.
The Charter Schools Commission would operate independently of the State Board of Education. The Superintendent of Public Instruction would be on the Commission, along with 10 appointees named by the governor and House and Senate leaders.
Co-chair Sen. Tillman: We will not be voting this bill today. Maybe next Wednesday or the Wed. after.
Sen. Richard Stevens (R-Wake) is the sponsor. He's introducing the bill now.
The PCS (that's "proposed committee substitute) would
- remove the cap of 100 currently in place
- put charter schools under the oversight of a new independent "North Carolina Public Charter Schools Commission," instead of under DPI
- clarify the funding formula
- allow local governments to provide capital funding for charters.
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