Today, Rep. Marcus Brandon (D-Guilford) held a private working group meeting with school superintendents and local school board members to discuss concerns stakeholders had about legislation related to school choice, specifically charters and education tax credits.
Brunswick County Schools Superintendent Ed Pruden described the meeting as “a philosophical discussion about the role of charters and tax credits for private schools.”
The meeting, which would not be subject to the open meetings law because only one lawmaker was present, was not open to the press. In a call to Rep. Brandon last week to inquire about subsequent education working group meetings, he indicated that he was open to having press attend. When asked why he decided to make today’s meeting closed, Brandon explained that he wanted “meeting members to feel comfortable having a discussion free of interpretation based on people’s opinion.”
Also in response to why he closed today’s meeting, Brandon explained that my story last week, “ICYMI: Bill to provide start-up funds for new charter schools” disappointed him on the basis that it was completely inaccurate. The bill, he said, is not intended to provide new charter schools with loans, but rather provides them with an advance of their allotments to which they are already entitled.
The legislation, however, clearly states that these disbursements of $25,000 are interest-free loans that are to be repaid within 12 months.