H.B. 219 Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

Charter Omnibus & Charter Review Board Bills Become Law

By Legislation, News

Lawmakers voted late yesterday afternoon to override Governor Cooper’s vetoes of six bills, including H.B. 219, Charter School Omnibus, and H.B. 618, Charter School Review Board. As a result, both bills are now law: H.B. 219 has become Session Law 2023-107 and H.B. 618 has become Session Law 2023-110.

H.B. 219/Session Law 2023-107 makes a number of changes to current law impacting charter schools. The new law allows counties to provide funds for charter school capital needs, and limits enrollment caps to low-performing charter schools, among other things. The new law takes effect for this current 2023-24 school year.

H.B. 618/Session Law 2023-110 streamlines the charter approval and renewal process by converting the Charter Schools Advisory Board into a Charter School Review Board with the authority to approve new charter schools or grant renewals. Board decisions may be appealed to the State Board of Education, and the State Board retains its rule making authority. This change is effective immediately.

The Coalition’s direct role in securing passage of charter bills

The Coalition has worked intensively this session to advocate for both of these bills, and we are very pleased they have become law. Getting any bill passed–from the initial idea to actual enactment–is no small feat, requiring tremendous effort and support from numerous stakeholders. Here’s what that looked like this time around:

  • At the Coalition’s request, member schools began providing input on legislative session priorities, beginning in September 2022–almost a year ago.
  • The Coalition Board’s Legislative Committee then began work to develop a comprehensive legislative agenda for 2023.
  • Following deliberations and conversations with member schools, the full Coalition Board approved the legislative agenda.
  • The Coalition’s communications team worked to develop strategy and messaging around legislative priorities.
  • Coalition Counsel Matthew Tilley wrote these charter bills, submitting bill text to the General Assembly’s bill writers.
  • The Coalition’s Government Relations Team (including Harry Kaplan and Dylan Reel of McGuireWoods and Lee Teague of Teague Advocacy) led intensive lobbying efforts at the General Assembly. This is tireless work, and involves walking these bills through all steps of the committee process. H.B. 219, for instance, had five revisions prior to ratification, while H.B. 618 had three revisions.
  • Coalition members and other stakeholders contacted and met with lawmakers to express support for charter bills and to share input around charter interests.
  • Lawmakers in the House sponsored these bills, while additional lawmakers in both the House and Senate voted to support these bills throughout the process.

Finally, Coalition Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis was involved all along the way, working with school members, the Coalition Board, the Coalition’s communications team and lobbyists, and other stakeholders.

Lawmaker support for charter bills

We are grateful to the lawmakers who supported these two bills throughout the legislative process.

Both bills received bipartisan support in the House. We want to thank Rep. Cecil Brockman and Rep. Shelly Willingham, two Democrats who joined with Republicans in supporting these bills and voting to override the Governor’s vetoes. Yesterday, 74 House members voted in support of these bills, while 27 Senate members did so.

  • See how House and Senate members voted on the veto override for H.B. 219.
  • See how House and Senate members voted on the veto override for H.B. 618.

Thank you to these legislators–and to the school leaders and charter parents who contacted legislators to express their views on these bills! Thank you also to Jamila Lindsay, a parent at Lake Norman Charter, who provided the voice recording for a Coalition video promoting H.B. 219.

Coalition statement on veto overrides for charter bills

Last night, the Coalition released a statement from Executive Director Lindalyn Kakadelis on the veto overrides for these two bills. Find the Coalition’s press release with that statement hereABC 11’s story on the veto overrides included Lindalyn’s statement about H.B. 219, as does this Carolina Journal article.

Work yet to do

The finalized version of H.B. 219 did not include the local funding provision the Coalition drafted and sought. We will continue to push for fair funding for charter schools. Our mission is to protect and promote public charter schools–and we know this is steady, ongoing work.

House Ed Committee Approves Bills with Charter Impacts

By Legislation, News

Earlier today the House Education – K-12 Committee approved H.B. 219, Charter School Omnibus, along with several other bills of interest to charter operators. To remain viable, these bill must pass the full House before the crossover deadline this Thursday, May 4.

H.B. 219 Summary

We are pleased that this important bill has made it out of the Education Committee. The Coalition has advocated for an aggressive legislative agenda this session, and our team has been working hard to secure passage of H.B. 219. The latest version of H.B. 219 includes a long list of high priority policy changes that will benefit public charter schools. Unfortunately, it does not include the fair funding provision we hoped for. So, in this new version of the bill, we got some—but not all—of what we wanted. That’s how politics works; negotiation is an inevitable part of getting legislation passed. Know that our work to push for fair funding and charter autonomy continues full steam ahead.

What’s in the latest version of H.B. 219? The bill:

  • Outlaws impact statements from local school districts for charter applications, renewals, amendments, or terminations
  • Specifies that a charter school’s academic performance for targeted subgroups must be judged in comparison to the academic outcomes for the same student subgroups in a district
  • Eliminates the 30% enrollment cap for schools that are not low-performing
  • Permits charter schools to admit out-of-state and foreign exchange students, and charge these students tuition
  • Allows an admission preference for military families
  • Prohibits local school districts from discriminating against charter school students in admission to any district school or special program
  • Allows county commissioners to provide capital funds to charter schools
  • Expresses the General Assembly’s intention for comparable per pupil funding: “It is the intent of the General Assembly to ensure that State and local funds for students attending charter schools shall be provided in a manner that results in per-pupil funding approximately equal to that provided for students attending other public school units.”
  • Provides for charter schools to be paid by the state based on actual enrollment, rather than being limited by the July estimate. Specifically, the bill states that charters shall be paid based on “the number of students actually enrolled in the school, up to the maximum authorized enrollment …”
  • Requires that the State Board of Education determine classifications for interscholastic athletics at public charter and nonpublic schools based on the “classification of the school or schools that the largest percentage of the student body of that school would have been assigned to attend” in the district. This is new language that was not in the initial version of H.B. 219, and the Coalition is working to have it removed.

What isn’t in this version of H.B. 219?

  • The authorization for charter schools to adopt a micro school program has been removed.
  • The updated bill also removes the explicit fair funding requirement, reflected in Section 7. (c) of Part 7 of the original bill. This provision would have required the local district to transfer to a charter school “an amount equal to the per pupil share of the local current expense fund of the local school administrative unit for the fiscal year” within 30 days of receipt. We pushed hard for this provision–and will continue our fight for fair funding in future legislative advocacy efforts.

Standardizing local payments to charter schools

Our work to secure fair funding for charter schools continues on multiple fronts. For instance, we are continuing our collaboration with leaders at the Department of Public Instruction to standardize local payments, ensuring that public schools in our state use the same process and forms. We anticipate that the new standardized system will be fully operational for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. This system will streamline the process and ensure transparency. In addition, it will also create important infrastructure for the transfer of funds as we continue our work to secure more equitable funding at the local level.

Removal of Part II in H.B. 823, Choose Your School, Choose Your Future

Today the House Education-K-12 Committee also removed Part II of H.B. 823, Choose Your School, Choose Your Future. Part II in the original version of this bill, which largely addresses the state’s Opportunity Scholarship Program, would have required all public school units to offer a three-year pathway to high school graduation. Charter operators had expressed a number of concerns about the impacts of this provision on their capacity to innovate at the high school level. The Coalition pushed hard for the removal of Part II from this bill, and we are pleased it was taken out of the version the committee approved.

H.B. 618, Charter School Review Board

Finally, the House Ed Committee also approved H.B. 618, Charter School Review Board–a bill the Coalition actively supports. Last week, the Coalition wrote a letter to committee members, urging approval of the bill and noting that it will help streamline and expedite the process for charter applications and renewals.