June 22, 2016
The Honorable Tim Moore, Speaker of the House
The Honorable Larry D. Hall, Democrat Leader
N.C. House of Representatives
16 W. Jones Street
Raleigh, NC 27601
Re: House Bill 242
Dear Speaker Moore and Representative Hall:
Please concur with HB242 which tightens scrutiny and control over charter schools by the State Board of Education (SBE).
For the first time, HB242 will require the SBE to annually identify all low-performing charter schools and all continually low-performing charter schools. [See page 5, beginning with line 48 through page 6 line 6].
For the first time, HB242 clearly defines the criteria for low-performing and continually low-performing schools and these definitions conform with the NC grading system based on End-of-Grade testing that applies to all.
HB242 also provides that, annually, the SBE may terminate, not renew, or transfer the charter of a continually low-performing charter school. The exception is for such a school that has met its state-designated academic growth for each of the three years immediately prior or if the SBE chooses to approve a school improvement plan. The fate of such a low-performing school is totally within the hands of the SBE.
These provisions are in addition to current statutes that require an annual independent financial audit performed to SBE specification and a regulatory compliance audit also performed to SBE standards for every charter school. These audits must be reported to Raleigh no later than October 31 following the June 30 year-end.
It is thus impossible for any low-performing charter to escape being identified by the SBE on an annual basis under HB242.
As you know, DPI reported that charter students outperformed district students in 12 demographic groups, including minorities and low-income students, by significant margins. Charter schools are successfully improving education and parental choice in NC, and HB 242 will ensure that this superior performance is sustained. The SBE has the option of fully reviewing any charter at any time, and the bill does not impede this option in any way.
I hope that you concur with HB242 that will further enhance the SBE’s ability to oversee this excellent educational choice for our parents and students.
Baker Mitchell, President