NC Senate panel hears sweeping charters proposal

February 2, 2011 5:39:44 PM PST
Senate Republicans have proposed sweeping changes to North Carolina's charter school law that would eliminate a 100-school cap and create a new commission to oversee them.

Click here to read the proposal on the General Assembly website

Bill sponsor Sen. Richard Stevens of Wake County told the Senate education committee on Wednesday a panel separate from the state Board of Education would ensure charters are treated fairly.

"The end result is that we want to remove the cap so there are more schools for people to choose from, that's the bottom line," said Stevens.

Parents who attended the meeting Wednesday said they were concerned about long waiting lists at current charter schools.

"Knowing my child the way I do I know she will function better in a small environment, but she's been on the waiting list for two years," said Charlotte mother Karen Sutton.

Charters also would be able to receive lottery proceeds for capital needs under the bill. Local governments also could appropriate money to charters for similar purposes.

Several Democrats say they're worried the bill would lead to resegregation of schools. A State school board official also questions whether a separate charter schools commission is constitutional.

A committee vote isn't expected until at least next week.

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