Charter School Bill Passes House
Special Report - April 12, 2011
On Monday evening, the North Carolina House of Representatives passed SB 8No Cap on Number of Charter Schools. SB 8 was approved by a vote of 68 to 51. Although the bill was originally designed to do away with the state’s current cap of one hundred charter schools as the measure made its way through the legislative process, it was slowly transformed from a one-page bill to lift the cap to a complex, twenty-three page measure to completely revamp the state’s entire charter school system.
Although SB 8 was filed as a key priority of many legislators during the first week of the 2011-2012 session, the measure quickly met resistance. After making its way from the Senate for consideration in the House, the bill went under the political radar for weeks, as the bill’s supporters tried to find compromises that would make the bill more bipartisan. However, though some key concessions were made, committee debate in the House still involved many objections on the grounds that the bill did not do enough to ensure racial and socioeconomic diversity in charter schools.
During Monday evening’s session, the debate for the bill’s third and final reading in the House largely mirrored committee discussion. In the course of the debate, Representative Bill Owens (D-Pasquotank) proposed an amendment, which would have deleted nearly the entire bill text, in favor of raising the cap on charters by 50 schools, upping the state’s limit to 150. That amendment failed by a vote of 57-60.
Although support for the bill fell mainly on partisan lines, freshman Representative Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford) spoke passionately in favor of the bill, arguing that charter schools should not be a partisan issue. After citing troubling educational statistics from his community, Rep. Brandon said that while this bill was not perfect, it was a step in the right direction for framing the debate around the true stakeholders, the children, parents, and teachers. At one point in his remarks, some legislators broke out into applause.
After over an hour of debate, a parliamentary procedure was used to end further debate and call for the vote. While SB 8 passed 68 to 51, it did not gain the 72 votes needed for a veto-proof supermajority in the House. While speculation abounds concerning a potential veto by the Governor, it is a moot point until the Senate decides whether it will concur with the House version of the bill, or go to conference to work out the differences between the Senate-passed and House-passed versions.
Charter School Bill Passes Senate - February 25, 2011
Healthcare, Charters, and Tests - February 18, 2011
This Week at the GA - February 11, 2011
Charter School Bill Passes Committee - February 17, 2011
Charter Expansion Considered - February 4, 2011
School Choice Events Week - January 24, 2011
Charter Regulations Score Poorly - December 2, 2010
Report Grades NC Public Schools a "D" - November 10, 2010
Charter School Checkmate - FNC - Summer 2010
Groups Say Lift Charter School Cap - January 22, 2010
Charter School Myths Debunked - January 7, 2010
Charter School Model Law Proposed - September 4, 2009
Charter School Alternative: Thinking Outside The Box - FNC -November 2006
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