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Arapahoe, Other Charters, One Step Closer To Expansion

Arapahoe Charter School
Dave DeWitt

Arapahoe Charter School - and others across the state - will soon be able to grow by one grade per year without seeking approval from the State Board of Education.

Language was changed in HB 250 earlier this month that included the one-grade expansion provision without much warning. It cleared both the Senate and the House yesterday.

The bill was written in response to the State Board of Education's January decision to deny a request by Arapahoe Charter School to expand. The Board felt that Arapahoe's growth was having a negative impact on the traditional public school system in Pamlico County. Arapahoe currently enrolls about 18% of the district's students.

Opponents of HB 250 say it will have a profound negative impact on rural schools across North Carolina. As charter schools expand and enroll more students, it will mean less per-pupil state funding for the traditional schools, leading to teacher layoffs, fewer advanced classes and and co-curricular activities, and segregated schools. 

HB 250 now goes to Gov. Pat McCrory's desk. He has not previously weighed in on the debate.

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