The Watauga County Board of Education passed a resolution at its Monday night meeting publicly opposing NC Senate Bill 8 (as it is currently written) and House Bill 41 in its entirety, directing that Superintendent Marty Hemric send a letter to Representative Jonathan Jordan and Senator Dan Soucek, asking them to reconsider their co-sponsorships of those bills and to make “funding schools first” a priority.
More about the bills below, but it’s striking that this resolution passed unanimously, with all three Republicans on the board – Deborah Miller, Lee Warren, and Delora Hodges – voting to protect public education from the wholesale dismantling currently underway in Raleigh.
NC Senate Bill 8 (“No Cap on Number of Charter Schools”) passed through the Senate Committee on Education yesterday. Though Charter schools get taxpayer money, they will will not be required to provide transportation or food service to their students, one factor alone that tends to make Charter schools enclaves of privilege. New language inserted into the bill would allow revenue from “supplemental taxes” to follow the child from that district to any other charter school in any other county. (Previous law allowed for revenue from supplemental taxes to follow the child only if the child from the supplemental tax district attended a charter school located within the physical boundaries of that taxing district.) The bill retains language allowing charter schools to request capital funds from county commissioners (yikes). There is no language dealing with the practice of charter schools sending children back to traditional public schools within 45 days of a test.
The most substantial change in the bill (from school boards’ perspectives) is a revenue-sharing mandate that would threaten More at Four or other early childhood education programs. These programs are funded largely from privately paid tuition and fees for summer school, revenue generated through private rentals of school board property, interest earned on local school board investment, reimbursement for indirect costs incurred for implementing mandated programs, and program-restricted funds for pre-school offerings. According to new language in Senate Bill 8, those revenue sources will now have to be shared with Charters.
House Bill 41 is an even more obvious assault on public education. It would provide $2,500 in tax vouchers to anyone willing to jerk their kids out of public schools and put them into private academies. Under this provision, a local county commission can add another $1,000 in tax vouchers to that little prize.