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Bill Changes Charter School Expansion

Arapahoe Charter School
Dave DeWitt

Charter schools in North Carolina may soon be able to expand without getting approval from the State Board of Education. 

Currently, if an established charter school wants to offer more grades, it must get approval from the State Board of Education. That approval is almost always granted, but earlier this year, Arapahoe Charter in Pamlico County was denied an expansion request. The State Board agreed with Pamlico County Schools that such growth would unduly harm the traditional public school district.

Arapahoe Charter School leaders are now trying a different strategy. They have backed legislation that would allow expansion without seeking approval from the State Board of Education. That bill passed the State Senate earlier this week, with one important amendment: a charter school can add just one grade per year without approval.

Supporters of traditional public schools say charter school expansion will cause a problematic loss of students and financial resources, especially in rural areas.

The bill now goes to the House for concurrence.

Dave DeWitt is WUNC's Feature News Editor. As an editor, reporter, and producer he's covered politics, environment, education, sports, and a wide range of other topics.
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