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Legislature Approves Bill To Remove Charter Oversight From DPI

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The office that oversees charter schools in North Carolina will likely no longer report to the Department of Public Instruction, but a politically-elected board. The measure was passed by the House and Senate this week and awaits the governor’s signature.  

The Office of Charter Schools would report to the state board of education. The board would also choose its director. Senate Education Committee Co-Chair Jerry Tillman came up with the proposal.  He told his colleagues in July he believes the Department of Public Instruction doesn’t share his enthusiasm for charters.   

"I don’t care what they may tell you. From the outset they’ve not liked charter schools. They’re charter public schools, but there has been some resistance because they seem to be a threat to the traditional public schools," said Tillman.

The General Assembly has been applying pressure to the Office of Charter Schools over the last few years.  For example, two years ago it voted to gut the advisory board that recommends charters for approval and start over with another. That backfired. The new group has been even tougher. 

This new bill also directs the State Board of Education to renew charters for ten years, if the schools meet financial and academic requirements.  

Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.