Uncategorized

Lawmakers put school open enrollment bill on hold

Lawmakers decided this afternoon to put the brakes on draft legislation that would allow a student to attend any school in the state.

“I have some concerns about this legislation,” said Rep. Bryan Holloway (Rockingham, Stokes), who moved to put the bill, titled ‘Open Enrollment/Home School Pilot,’ on hold so that members of the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee could spend more time discussing its provisions and talking with local superintendents about the plan’s logistics. The bill was first put forth by a subcommittee chaired by Sen. Fletcher Hartsell (R-Cabarrus, Union).

The open enrollment legislation would require local school districts to establish an open enrollment policy so that parents of students could apply to send their children to any school within a local school district, or even to a school in another district, if that local board approves. The law, which is largely based on Colorado’s Public Schools of Choice Act, would take effect for the 2015-16 school year.

Rep. Marvin Lucas (D-Cumberland) expressed concern about the lack of a transportation requirement, especially for students with meager means who wished to access the school choice plan. 

Local school districts would not be required to provide transportation for students wishing to attend a school different from the one to which they are typically assigned — although the language in the bill does encourage districts to transport them anyway.

Rep. Edgar Starnes (R-Caldwell) saw potential problems with the plan, especially for schools that are already overcrowded or highly desirable. The law does provide for school districts to deny a student’s application to attend a certain school, but the denial is limited to the following criteria:

  • there is a lack of space;
  • a student has a history of discipline problems;
  • the district is under a federal desegregation order and the student’s application request would bring the district out of compliance;
  • the student is not academically prepared according to a school’s eligibility requirements; or
  • a school cannot handle a student’s special needs.

Today’s proposed bill contained a separate section, also put on hold, that would set up a pilot program requiring local school districts to provide academic enrichment programs to home school students. Schools would have to provide 90 minutes of academic instruction per student per semester to home school students who are interested– and in exchange, the district would receive 50 percent of ADM funding for that student. That program is also similar to an initiative coming out of Colorado.

The News & Observer first reported that the open enrollment legislation comprises language similar to that of model legislation penned by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative group known for pushing education privatization bills in statehouses around the country. Click here to compare ALEC’s Open Enrollment Act with North Carolina’s Open Enrollment bill.

Check Also

Changing hats, but my focus remains on education

Dear NC Policy Watch readers, It’s been a ...

Top Stories from NCPW

  • News
  • Commentary

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding [...]

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been ra [...]

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up A blanket o [...]

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Env [...]

With Republicans on Capitol Hill and in the White House desperate to post a big legislative win, the [...]

Latest court system mess is directly linked to the Right’s ideological war on public structures Some [...]

Republicans in Congress are rushing to advance a tax reform bill that balloons the federal deficit s [...]

The post Charitable donations and the GOP’s chopping block appeared first on NC Policy Watch. [...]

Spotlight on Journalism

We invite you to join a special celebration of investigative journalism! The evening will feature Mike Rezendes, a member of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe Spotlight Team known for their coverage of the cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Tickets available NOW!

Spotlight On Journalism

This event will benefit NC Policy Watch, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. Sponsorship opportunities available now!

Featured | Special Projects

NC Budget 2017
The maze of the NC Budget is complex. Follow the stories to follow the money.
Read more


NC Redistricting 2017
New map, new districts, new lawmakers. Here’s what you need to know about gerrymandering in NC.
Read more