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Embracing Change: PEFNC supports legislation eliminating state charter school cap

Written by Featured Organization on 03 February 2011.

RALEIGH (February 2, 2011) – Lifting North Carolina's charter school cap will help more than 20,000 families waiting for a charter school opening and allow charters to be created in 53 counties that currently do not have one, Darrell Allison, President of Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina, said Tuesday morning.

Allison spoke before the Senate Education/Higher Education Committee, which is considering legislation eliminating the state's cap of 100 charter schools. Similar to public schools, charter schools are allowed more creative freedom to increase academic performance. Currently there are 99 charters across the state.

"In light of the high demand for such an option, coupled with the scarcity of schools for far too many of our families, Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina believes the elimination of the cap would be an adequate response to such issues – especially when you look at the fact that three states that border North Carolina [Georgia, South Carolina and Virginia] have taken similar positions by not having a cap on charter schools."

The bill, proposed by Sen. Richard Stevens (R-Wake), includes creating an 11-member independent commission overseeing all charter schools, utilize lottery funds for charters, allow public schools to be converted into charters and allow state funds to be used to purchase property for charter schools.

"We want more charter schools in North Carolina, that's the bottom line," Stevens said. "We want parents to have choice, and that's our objective."

The proposed measures would benefit parents like Karen Sutton, a Charlotte mother who for two years has been on a charter school waiting list for her daughter, who will attend middle school in the fall. She asked the committee to eliminate the cap "to support parents like me."

"I want her to be in the best environment for her education, her needs, her learning style," she said. "And I think a charter school close to our house, that's known for high academic standards, that is the environment I want her to continue in."

Tuesday's meeting follows a late-January PEFNC event where over 700 people attended a forum supporting school choice. During the forum, Sen. Malcolm Graham (D-Mecklenburg), a member of the Committee on Education/Higher Education, stressed the importance of creating a different education delivery system.

Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina

4900 Falls of Neuse Road, Suite 155