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Charter school expansion bill gets OK
Would drop grade expansion limits in N.C.
 
Published Monday, July 8, 2013 1:57 pm
by Stephanie Carroll Carson, N.C. News Service

ASHEVILLE – A bill giving charter schools in North Carolina the green light for adding to the number of grades they serve passed the state Senate late last week.


Once it is reconciled with the version passed by the House, it will be headed to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk. Currently, charter schools need approval from the State Board of Education to expand, and are limited to one additional grade per year. The bill would remove those limitations.


Charter schools are privately owned, but receive per-pupil funding from the state.


Public schools across the state are concerned the change will threaten their funding, said Betsey Russell, a board member of the Asheville City Schools Foundation.


“They're making it easier and easier for private charter school operators to get a charter school license, open the school and have no accountability and use taxpayer dollars,” Russell said.


There are currently 107 charter schools in North Carolina, as well as dozens of applications for charters in cities and counties around the state.


Charter schools are not required to offer lunches to students or bus transportation. Bill Anderson with MeckEd, a nonprofit supporter of public education in Charlotte, said in many cases that keeps less-advantaged students from attending charter schools.


“Does that mean that we will further isolate certain types of students to remain in public schools, while other students will opt out for the charter schools?” he asked.


Supporters of charter schools have said they are necessary to empower parents and communities to create schools that meet their needs.

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