Charter Board Debate Intensifies

May 6, 2013

The State Senate will debate the Charter Board bill on Tuesday.
Credit Dave DeWitt / WUNC

The State Senate is scheduled to debate a bill tomorrow that creates a separate board to oversee the growing number of charter schools in North Carolina.

Senate Bill 337 has gone through several revisions since it was introduced by Republican lawmakers two months ago. One of the provisions in an earlier bill, for example, removed the requirement that charter school teachers be college graduates. That requirement has since been re-instated.

But one of the provisions that relaxes requirements on charter school teachers remains: how many must be certified. Currently, 75 percent of elementary charter school teachers and 50 percent of middle-and-high-school charter teachers must be certified. In the bill being debated tomorrow, those minimum requirements are removed.

The bill would also create a separate board to oversee charter schools in North Carolina.

The Charter Board would be part of the Department of Public Instruction, but would operate independently of both D.P.I. and the State Board of Education. The bill calls for the members to be individuals who are committed to charter schools as a way of strengthening public education.

One of the sticking points for the legislation has been the issue of requiring background checks for charter school teachers. As the bill is currently written, background checks will not be mandatory, but will be an issue decided by the board.