Friday, April 7, 2017

HB514...Municipal Charter Schools on the way?

News of an interesting bill filed last week landed here at aShortChronicle HQ thanks to an eagle eyed regular reader.

HB514 was filed by Matthews Rep Bill Brawley on March 28th.  The bill would allow certain municipalities in Mecklenburg and Union Counties to apply for their own charter schools.  Last year Matthews indicated its intentions to pursue a move for more independence from CMS after frustration with the CMS's reassignment process boiled over.  See that story here.

It's certainly an interesting idea, but as of now Brawley is the only sponsor.  This was filed as what's called a "local bill" and only impacts the towns of Matthews and Mint Hill in Brawley's district.  Typically, local bills need unanimous support from the county delegations to move along, but it is unclear how that might work here since only one district is impacted.

aShortChronicle checked with North Meck Rep John Bradford on where he stands on this bill.  Bradford sits on the House K-12 Education committee where this bill currently sits. Here's what he had to say.

"The bill you reference is designed for two towns, specifically, as a a pilot.

I support charter schools and parent choice. If this bill passes, I would like to see how this works out in the two towns. I think CMS would, at first, be against it but it might be a creative way for CMS to offer some alternatives like a magnet program. If they had their own Charter school(s) then the funding would still stay within the CMS system versus flowing outside the system into a separate Charter program. "

So, while this bill doesn't impact North Mecklenburg for now it is worth thinking about in the context of North Mecklenburg.

If this bill was to pass AND the pilots were successful AND the local towns were allowed to use it, it could become a possibility.   That's a lot of "ANDs", but if it were to happen Davidson, Cornelius, and Huntersville could effectively form a North Mecklenburg "district" and break away from CMS via a local network of charter schools.  The towns would sponsor the schools individually under this legislation, but could possibly operate them as part of some sort of interlocal agreement providing some level of independence from the town boards.

An interesting proposition to say the least.

If you support this bill or would like to see it expanded to include the North Mecklenburg towns, contact Rep Bradford to let him know.

His NCGA email is

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