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Mecklenburg Charter Bill Passes Senate, Heads To House

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The towns of Cornelius, Huntersville, Matthews, and Mint Hill only need state house approval now to get the ability to operate their own charter schools. The Senate gave final approval to House Bill 514 Monday night.

Senator Jeff Tarte who represents areas of Mecklenburg County that include these towns, supports the bill.

“This merely is a grant of authority to enable them to have the option, if they so choose at some point in the future, to operate a charter school. So at their request we gave them that ability,” says Tarte.

He says a town-run charter school would give residents more options and help ease overcrowding. The bill would allow the municipalities to use property tax money to fund these schools. 

“This gives the cities an opportunity to participate in seeking and raising funds to raise schools, so that can’t be a bad thing.”

CMS leaders are concerned town-run charters would increase segregation because it would give town residents priority in enrollment. 

The Senate’s vote was 29-17, largely along party lines. Five Republicans voted against it, including Jerry Tillman who represents Moore and Randolph counties.

The bill returns to the House, which approved a similar version last year that only applied to Matthews and Mint Hill.  Since it's a local bill, it would not be subject to Governor Roy Cooper's signature.