Battle over charter schools, money

July 21, 2009 9:21:18 PM PDT
Many wonder if North Carolina would really pass up tens of millions of dollars, because law-makers and some education groups don't want to allow more charter schools.The battle over charter schools has been an on-going fight, pitting the education establishment against those who want more school choice.

Charter schools have operated in North Carolina for almost a dozen years, but under the rule that there can be no more than 100 of them.

However now a federal stimulus package has some wanting to break the rule, because its offers $4 billion to states wanting to start new charter schools.

Supporters of charter schools in the General Assembly said North Carolina could access $60 to $100 million.

"It's between $60 and $100M that our state will forfeit because of the cap," Rep. Leo Daughtry said.

A bill to lift the cap from 100 to 106 charter schools has passed the House, but it has sat dormant in a Senate committee for two months.

The House passed the bill 102 to 6. It's not clear why it has not gotten a hearing in the Senate.

"We can't get the bill to move," Daughtry said. "It's stuck."

Some advocates are blaming the North Carolina Association of Educators.

"It's all about the NCAE," charter school advocate Bob Luddy said. "They've lobbied against them for years and tried to kill them with bad reports."

The NCAE said it's not opposed to charter schools, but to lifting the cap.

They claimed the stimulus money that would be lost, could really be used for other school reforms.


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