@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Behind the Bill: Charter School Reform

Posted February 21, 2011 9:47 p.m. EST
Updated March 28, 2011 6:54 p.m. EDT

Senate Bill 8, the charter school reform bill, is likely to reach the Senate floor for a vote later this week after a quick stop in the finance committee Tuesday afternoon.  

S8 started out as a simple one-page proposal to remove the cap on the number of N.C. charter schools. Within a few days, it had turned into a 22-page rewrite of the laws that govern the state's entire charter school system.   

The charter school community is overwhelmingly supportive of the measure.  But traditional school officials and many Democrats are concerned about its potential consequences for local school funding and low-income students.    

Democrats on the Senate Education Committee complained that S8 was moving too fast.  They asked committee leaders for more time to offer amendments and to hear public comment.  But the bill's sponsor, Senator Richard Stevens (R-Wake), said the GOP has been working on this issue for nine years.  

"It's time to move this bill," Stevens said. 

For more on what's at stake in the debate, watch the video below.