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State Senate votes to remove cap on public charter schools

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RALEIGH, NC (NEWS RELEASE FROM SENATOR PHIL BERGER'S OFFICE) – North Carolina parents could soon have more choice and control in their children’s public education following the state Senate’s approval of legislation eliminating the 100-school cap on public charter schools. There already are 99 public charter schools in North Carolina which do not meet the demands of about 20,000 students on a waiting list.

Following years of inaction by the former Democratic majority, the Senate tentatively passed SB 8 today with bipartisan support. In addition to removing the 15-year-old cap, it creates a North Carolina Public Charter Schools Commission to review applications for new schools, grant and revoke charters based on school performance, and provide general oversight for charter schools. The new commission would fall under the State Board of Education, which is able to veto the commission’s decisions with a ¾ majority.

The bill also preserves a current requirement that a charter school’s student body represent the racial and ethnic makeup of its community.

“North Carolina’s traditional public schools are failing many children. Today’s vote is a victory for children in those failing schools,” said Senate President Pro Tempore Phil Berger (R-Rockingham). “Removing this arbitrary cap on public charter schools will increase educational opportunities for our kids and give parents the freedom to choose a school that best meets their children’s needs.”

“The passage of this bill will allow for more innovation and choice, which are top priorities for North Carolina’s students and their families,” said Sen. Richard Stevens (R-Wake), the bill’s sponsor. “It will also enable local decision-making, where creativity thrives and the best outcomes are generated.”

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