Stanly School Board approves resolution opposing House Bill 219

Published 4:10 pm Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

The Stanly County School Board on Tuesday approved a resolution opposing a North Carolina House bill that would change the regulations regarding charter school funding.

House Bill 219, also known as Charter School Omnibus, would “create unequal rather than equal local funding for K-12 education,” according to a copy of the draft resolution, by narrowing the scope of funding sources local districts could withhold from charter schools.

Stanly County school board members were first introduced to the resolution during a work session last week.

Critics of HB 219 contend it would unfairly advantage charter schools by forcing districts to share funding from sources including appropriated fund balance, federal reimbursements, Pre-K classroom funds, sales tax refunds, indirect costs and tuition and fees for actual costs.

Several school boards across the state, including Cabarrus County this week, have approved similar resolutions opposing HB 219.

Board member Bill Sorenson, citing data from Best NC, a nonprofit coalition of business leaders committed to improving North Carolina’s education system, said that in comparison with public schools, charter schools “failed to meet the standards” at the same level regarding EOC and EOG testing last year.

“What the legislator is asking us to do is give them (charter schools) more money to fail more frequently,” Sorenson said about his support for the resolution.

The Stanly News & Press could not independently verify Sorenson’s claim about charter schools performing worse on standardized testing, though data from Best NC did show that as of 2018-29, public schools met or exceeded expected student growth at a higher percentage than charter schools.

HB 219 passed the North Carolina House of Representatives on first read on March 1 and has been referred to the Rules, Calendar and Operations Committees.

In a Monday morning interview, SCS Superintendent Dr. Jarrod Dennis said he “was surprised but not blindsided” when he first heard about the bill, which was introduced in late February.

Charter schools can already apply for many of the same funds as public schools and can keep 100% of their revenue from these sources. So by then receiving money from the school districts for the same funds, “it is essentially double dipping,” Dennis said.

If passed into law, the total financial impact of HB 219 to Stanly County Schools in lost K-12 operating funds based on fiscal year 2022-2023 would be “substantial,” per the resolution.

Once the resolution is signed, copies will be sent to N.C. Rep. Wayne Sasser and Sen. Carl Ford.

Roughly 8,600 K-12 children in Stanly County attend public schools while only around 400 children go to charter schools,  Dennis said.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

email author More by Chris