Buried deep in a House technical corrections bill unveiled yesterday is a provision to allow staff of for-profit charter school management groups to serve on the boards of the public charters schools that contract with them.
The N.C. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the 55-page technical corrections bill today. The legislation would also have to gain approval in the Senate. (UPDATE: The House voted and passed the bill Friday, and it is now headed to the Senate.)
The technical corrections bill unveiled Thursday is supposed to be way for lawmakers to tweak laws but it often becomes an under-the-radar way to push through controversial changes and “asks” from powerful lobbying groups.
The one-sentence addition to charter school rules would prohibit the State Board of Education from dictating who can and can’t sit on the board of the publicly-funded charter schools.
That issue popped up last year when the N.C. Department of Public Instruction told a politically-connected charter school operator he couldn’t sit on the board of the school he works for.
“The State Board of Education shall no impose any terms and conditions that restrict membership of the board of directors of the nonprofit corporation operating the charter school, but shall require the board of directors to adopt a conflict of interest policy,” the new language in the technical corrections bill states. (Click here to view the corrections bill, charter school language on page 39.)
Baker Mitchell, who founded Charter Day School in Brunswick County, owns an education management company called Roger Bacon Academy that is contracted to run four charter schools in the southeastern part of the state. Last year, the State Board of Education told Mitchell that neither he nor other Roger Bacon staff could be voting board members of the charter schools, a decision that bothered both Mitchell and the charter school board members.