State Politics

Bill to shift funds to charter schools dies – for now

Durham’s Reaching All Minds Academy charter school third graders in biotech teacher Valerie Chambers' class spend time reading about ecosystems in December.
Durham’s Reaching All Minds Academy charter school third graders in biotech teacher Valerie Chambers' class spend time reading about ecosystems in December. hlynch@newsobserver.com

A bill that would shift some traditional public school funding to charter schools is dead for this year’s session, House Rules Chairman David Lewis said Tuesday night.

Traditional public schools share funding with charter schools based on enrollment numbers. But some public school funding is kept separate from the money that’s split with charters. The Senate’s bill would have forced public schools to share additional federal funding, gifts and grants, sales tax revenues and other funding.

The bill initially also called for supplemental school district taxes to be shared with charters – even if a child from the supplemental tax district is attending a charter outside that tax district. The Senate later removed that provision.

After the bill cleared the Senate Monday in a 25-19 vote, it was on the House’s calendar for much of Tuesday. But late Tuesday night, Speaker Tim Moore announced that the bill would be referred to a committee for further review. No further committee meetings will be held before the legislature adjourns this week.

“It is out for the session,” Lewis said shortly after the move. “It will be studied extensively in the interim and maybe try to revamp the entire way we fund (schools).”

He said legislators could then take a more detailed review of charter school funding in next year’s short session, which will begin in April.

The charter school funding shift first surfaced at a Senate Finance Committee meeting last week where it was approved minutes later. The legislation replaced language in a House bill that originally addressed the use of school playgrounds. The “gut and amend” approach allows legislators to introduce new proposals in the final days of the General Assembly’s session.

Colin Campbell: 919-829-4698, @RaleighReporter

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