Lawmakers pushed a bill through the Senate that would divert more money from school districts to charter schools.
Under current law, school districts have pots of funding they don’t have to share with charter schools. These pots include supplemental property tax revenues, as well as federal funding for providing school lunches and transportation, which most charters don’t provide.
The bill that moved through the Senate would require school districts to share those funding sources with charters.
Sen. Jerry Tillman (R-Randolph), who sponsored the bill, said charter students receive fewer dollars per pupil than students in traditional public schools. He said the measure helps restore funding charters lost with the passage of legislation in 2010 that restricted some funds for school districts only.
"I'm trying to get it back, and we're not there yet. We still got a ways to go to get pure equity," he said.
But Sen. Josh Stein (D-Wake) was one of several critics during debate on the Senate floor. He opposed the bill because it would allow charters to tap into federal funds meant to pay for services charters aren't required to provide.
"Why in the world would we take the indirect costs that constitute millions of dollars away from traditional public schools that have the burden of actually feeding kids, and give it to charters schools which do not share that same obligation?" Stein asked.
The measure passed 25-19. It goes back to the House for another vote.