NC Governor Cooper Vetoes Yet Another Charter School Bill

For the 14th time this year, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has vetoed charter school legislation. The Charter School Omnibus bill, H.B. 219, would have lessened enrollment growth caps and allowed charter schools to request money from counties to fund capital projects.

The fund could be used to construct, renovate, or purchase a building, athletic field, playground, furnishings, and office equipment. The current operating costs of charter schools are paid by state and local taxes. However, they are responsible for funding and securing their own buildings.

Since taking office in January 2017, Democrat Governor Cooper has used his veto pen 89 times and a total of 14 times this year. Eight of those vetoes have been reversed by successful override challenges thanks to the Republican supermajority in the General Assembly.

Cooper said in a press release, “This bill allowing more students to attend failing charter schools risk their education and their future. The State Board of Education should continue to oversee the enrollment growth of charter schools to assure success.”

The governor did, however, sign two bills into law. One involving statutes related to the administration of justice and another regarding firefighter applicants. H.B. 193 AOC Ct Changes/Amd Expunction. And H.B. 378 Firefighters Criminal History Record Checks.

The current system requires new public charters first to obtain authorization from the Charter Schools Advisory Board. Then they must gain a majority vote from the State Board of Education. H.B. 618 would create a new Charter School Review Board responsible for reviewing and approving new charters.

The new commission would have 11 voting members, four from the Senate, four from the House, and two from the State Board of Education. The last member would be the lieutenant governor. It passed in the Senate on June 20 and received concurrence in the House seven days later.

Charter schools in North Carolina have seen a steady increase in enrollment rates. The governor’s latest veto will likely be overridden on August 7, when overrides are scheduled on the House calendar. It will sit there along with the proposed Charter School Review Board bill and four other vetoed measures.