SB -8 , the major charter school legislation introduced last week by Sen. Richard Stevens (R-Wake), continues to take shape. This morning, the Education/Higher Education subcommittee met to discuss a boatload of amendments to the Proposed Committee Substitute Amendment (PCS) to SB-8, which unfortunately is still not available online. Law makers were told to expect a vote next week on the legislation and amendments.
Now is not the time to discuss all the proposed amendments. In my view the most important provisions of the PCS include: removing the cap, eliminating restrictions on annual enrollment increases and the creation of a North Carolina Public Charter Schools Commission to authorize and administer charter schools. According to the bill, the commission will remain under the State Board of Education and will consist of eleven members. Two members will be appointed by the governor, four members by the House and four members by the Senate. The Superintendent of Public Instruction or their designee will also be a member. The commission will have the power to approve all applications for charter schools.
I understand there are charter school supporters on both sides of the Commission issue. Still, while I acknowledge the new commission has pluses – and may be better than the current arrangement which places the State Board of Education in the position of authorizing charter schools — somehow it doesn’t seem right to create a bureaucracy to counter a bureaucracy, all in hopes of furthering less bureaucratic schools.