Raleigh – A joint Senate-House conference committee met Monday to iron out differences between the two versions of House Bill 250. The final version was passed by both the House and Senate and is now on its way to the Governor for his signature to become law.
Sponsored by Representatives Hardister, Brandon, Stam, and Lambeth, the bill clarifies certain provisions in the current law regarding the first year’s admission requirements, the lottery provisions for admitting siblings, and adds options to a charter school’s ability to expand its operation without having to seek a modification of its charter so long as it is in compliance with its academic obligations.
H250 is part of a package of Legislative Goals of the NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools Board of Directors. We expect to have concurrence on the rest of our initiatives in S337 by Wednesday.
A special thank you to our Legislators for passing Charter School legislation that will impact over 50,000 children in NC Charter Schools and nearly an equal number on waiting lists.
HB 250 passed concurrence in the NC House and Senate today and will become law on August 1, 2013.
Please Thank our Legislative Leaders for Charter Schools…
Senator Jerry Tillman, Senator Dan Soucek, and Senator Phil Berger
Rep. Jon Hardister, Rep. Mike Hager, Rep. Edgar Starnes, Rep. Paul Stam
Rep. Marcus Brandon, and Rep. Donnie Lambeth
“Representative Hardister’s bill H250 will bring a sense of certainty to a charter school’s board of directors when it is trying to plan future procedures or possible expansions,” said former Senator Debbie Clary, Director of Governmental and Community Relations for the Alliance.
Summary of HB 250
The bill would allow charter schools to give enrollment priority for children of all school employees. In its first year of operation, a charter school would be able to give priority enrollment to children of the initial members of the board of directors. The prioritized children are limited to no more than 15% of the school’s total enrollment. Current law only allows priority enrollment for teachers and prohibits the directors’ priority enrollment for charter schools that are conversions from public or private schools. Current law also limits the total number of priorities to no more than 20 students – a very severe limit for a large school that might have 40 teachers serving 800 students.
Keeping the children in a family together at a school of choice is important to parents. New language in the law means that Charter Schools would have the option to enter all siblings of a family into the lottery together under one surname. The bill also clarifies that the term “siblings” includes half-siblings, step-siblings and children residing in a family foster home. Under current law, the one surname requirement applies only to multiple birth siblings.
A new class of enrollment priority would be created for students enrolled in the charter school within the two previous school years who left the school either: (i) to participate in extraordinary educational opportunities available to the student, such as a study abroad program or a competitive admission residential program; or (ii) because of the vocational opportunities of the student’s parents.
HB 250 also offers the opportunity for schools to expand to offer one grade higher than the charter currently offers if the school has operated for at least three years and has not been identified as having inadequate performance as defined in the charter statute.
The NC Alliance for Public Charter Schools is the state’s only 501(c)3 non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to bringing high-quality educational choice to all of North Carolina’s parents through tuition-free open-enrollment charter schools.