An effort to give two Mecklenburg County towns authority to start their own charter schools could be expanding. Huntersville commissioners Monday evening will discuss House Bill 514, which currently applies only to Matthews and Mint Hill.
"This is just another tool in the tool box that we could use to, hopefully, continue to have good quality education in north Mecklenburg," said Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla. He supports adding the town to HB514.
Aneralla said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials have "pretty much discounted" growing demand for schools in the northern part of the county. He cited a $922 million school bond referendum that voters approved last fall. Aneralla and some other north Mecklenburg leaders have said the package didn’t include enough school construction for their communities.
CMS board member Rhonda Cheek, whose district includes much of north Mecklenburg, does not support giving Huntersville or other towns the power to operate their own charter schools.
"I think that there is a great system now with the traditional public schools and the charters that we have," Cheek said. "Not every [public school] is overcrowded."
Cheek said she doesn’t think the idea of giving municipalities charter school authority has been adequately studied or vetted for financial feasibility.
Huntersville commissioners will consider whether to ask the sponsor of HB 514, Republican Rep. Bill Brawley, to include the town in the legislation. Mayor Aneralla said citizens can sign up to speak at the commission meeting, which begins at 6:30 p.m Monday at Huntersville's town hall.