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North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools Archives - North Carolina Coalition for Charter Schools

NC charter enrollment continues to grow

By News

NC charter enrollment continues to grow, with more families than ever choosing these public schools of choice for their children. That’s a key takeaway from a recent analysis by EdNC of the first month’s enrollment figures for 2023-24. Those numbers, released by the Department of Public Instruction and reflecting Average Daily Membership, are current as of November 3. They will be updated in the coming weeks.

Charter enrollment continues to rise this year

Currently in North Carolina, 139,985 students are enrolled in 209 public charter schools, according to EdNC’s analysis. This is a 4.9% enrollment increase since last year.

Meanwhile, enrollment in district public schools has declined 0.4% since last year and 3.6% since before the pandemic. Fall 2020 numbers in the table below reflect the first enrollment drop, following school closures in Spring 2020. Numbers ticked back up in 2021 and 2022, and appear to have declined again this year–the second drop in district enrollment since the pandemic.

Here’s EdNC’s table of fall enrollment for the past four years (totals include charter as well as lab schools):

Source: EdNC, November 28, 2023.

Four of the state’s five biggest school districts experienced enrollment declines this year, EdNC notes. Those districts include Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Winston-Salem Forsyth County Schools, Cumberland County Schools, and Guilford County Schools. Among the state’s largest districts, only Wake County Schools grew its enrollment.

Read more from EdNC.

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.

Coalition responds to Governor’s veto of H.B. 219, Charter School Omnibus

By Legislation, News

The Coalition yesterday released a response to Governor Cooper’s veto of H.B. 219, Charter School Omnibus. In his veto message, the Governor included some comments that misrepresented the facts. The statements below from the Coalition address those misrepresentations.

Gov. Cooper wrote in his veto message that House Bill 219 “allows more students to attend failing charter schools…North Carolina should continue to cap the enrollment growth of low-performing charter schools until they can show that they improve student outcomes.”

It’s true that House Bill 219 removes enrollment caps for some charter schools – but it explicitly requires caps for low-performing charter schools. It doesn’t eliminate them.

Here’s the exact bill text: “Limit enrollment caps to low-performing schools.”

The bill only removes enrollment caps for public charter schools that aren’t low-performing because there were more than 77,000 student names on waitlists for North Carolina public charter schools for the 2022-23 school year.

Gov. Cooper also wrote, “Diverting local resources to build charter schools without clear authority on who owns them risks financial loss to county taxpayers.”

But current state law says that the assets, including the building, of a closed charter school go to the local school district.

Here’s the statute (G.S. 115C-218.100(b)): “Upon dissolution of a charter school, all net assets of the charter school purchased with public funds shall be deemed the property of the local school administrative unit in which the charter school is located.”

Read the full press release or this Carolina Journal article.