School choice advocates, House Bill 96 should set your hair on fire.
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) March 15, 2015
House Bill 96, presented by Rep. Larry Hall, represents a clear attack on choice and charter schools in North Carolina.
HB 96 would make a charter board member or employee who has any control over maintaining or releasing funds to be held personally and/or individually liable for all the debts of the charter school.
Text from HB 96:
“(c) A charter school shall operate under the written charter signed by the State Board and the applicant. The written charter shall include terms requiring that individuals with the authority to maintain or expend funds for the charter school be held personally and individually liable for debts incurred by the charter school in accordance with G.S. 115C-218.20(a2).
Rep. Craig Horn was quoted by Carolina Journal on the bill, but read the whole thing as Rep. Hall seems to be hanging his reasoning for HB 96 on Kinston Charter’s problems — which were caught using processes already in place:
“I do think it’s natural that we spend a lot of time looking at charter school applicants on their pedagogy, curriculum, and academic plan. From what I’ve been aware of I’m not so sure we look at their finances as closely as we should,” said state Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union, a chairman of the House Education K-12 Committee.
Rep. Horn, how about we look at how DPI spends their money or each school district first? You know, a detailed accounting of ever penny?
While we’re at it, how about some transparency in who pulls who’s strings in North Carolina education? [Related: NC DPI Gave Media Outlet Private Charter School Information[
More from Carolina Journal — “overreach”:
If passed, the legislation would require the Office of Charter Schools at the Department of Public Instruction to maintain a database of those individuals, and prohibit their future employment in charter schools until the debt is paid off.
“The bill looks like a solution in search of a problem,” said Eddie Goodall, executive director of the North Carolina Charter Schools Association.
He said the prospective database would be added to a requirement for charter schools to do criminal background checks of employees, a regulation traditional schools do not have. “It’s just overreach,” Goodall said.
This move is clearly meant to hamstring the growing charter school movement. What’s next? Forcing private or parochial schools to list their finances?