From the Charlotte Observer,
North Carolina’s proposed budget includes a provision that not only makes it easier for Mecklenburg County towns to create their own charter schools but allows cities across the state to use tax money for public schools (http://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article212094514.html).
Allowing for property taxes to be used for local school systems can lead to many different outcomes, none of which are mutually exclusive from each other.
1. The class size mandate can now be argued that it can be funded by the use of local taxes.
Remember when local LEA’s were screaming that in order to comply with the class size mandate that each would have to give up “specials” or take away teachers from other areas to make sure the law was obeyed? Furthermore, it would have required a lot more classroom space.
Plainly put, it was unfunded by the state despite the words of Chad Barefoot or Phil Berger.
Now the NCGA can look at each LEA and say that they can just raise property taxes to fund that mandate. It’s like they told each school system to fight with its county / city commissions to find a way to get the money out of the citizens to fund the state’s mandates while the state refuses to freeze tax cuts to corporations.
Even more concerning is that this will open up the door for charter schools to ask localities for money to help open up more charter schools.
2. Charter schools can now ask the local governments for revenue to use for their resources.
From the aforementioned Charlotte Observer article:
The budget bill opens the door for districts and charter schools to ask municipal governments to pony up for anything from school resource officers to custodians to teacher pay supplements, said Charles Jeter, a former state legislator who now works as government relations coordinator for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
Jeter is also making reference to the Charlotte-Meck fight with Matthews and Mint Hill communities which are seeking to create their own charter schools for their residents. That “fight” is wrapped up in H514, a bill sponsored by Bill Brawley. As of today, Cornelius and Huntersville were added to the list of municipalities that wanted their own “charter” schools within the CMS system. This leads to another consequence of allowing for porperty taxes to fund schools.
3. It will allow for the segregation of school system populations with tax-payer money.
Kris Nordstrom, the erudite policy analyst, did an incredible expose on this type of legislation that enables this type of segregation in Stymied by Segregation(http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/STYMIED-BY-SEGREGATION-Integration-can-Transform-NC-FINAL-2.pdf).
It was worth the read when it was first published. It is more worth reading now.
4. It will create an even bigger divide between wealthier and poorer counties.
Billy Ball wrote a piece for NC Policy Watch that explains this very well.
It’s a controversial change tied inextricably to a push from some leaders in suburban Matthews to form their own municipal charter school apart from the county system, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS).
And in a state that’s long-struggled to reconcile major K-12 funding differences between its wealthier and poorer counties, it may only make matters worse, experts say.
“You’re likely to see more battles between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots.’ And if history tells us anything, the ‘have-nots’ usually lose,” said Keith Poston, president and executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina. Every year, Poston’s organization publishes a report on the growing gaps in K-12 funding between affluent and poor districts. (http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/2018/05/30/education-budget-shocker-could-alter-the-fundamentals-of-nc-school-funding/).
5. It goes against the Leandro Decision.
From Duke Law school’s description of the monumental 1997 case:
The heart of the Plaintiff’s case was the argument that the quality of child’s education ought not be dependent upon the wealth of the family and community into which that child was born. It costs more to properly educate disadvantaged children, but the State had not done enough to equalize school funding across NC. The Plaintiff’s proposed solution was a higher level of stable funding for these low-wealth counties (https://law.duke.edu/childedlaw/schooldiscipline/attorneys/casesummaries/leandrovstate/).
Make no mistake. This part of the secretly crafted budget is appalling and has so many intended consequences.
In fact it creates even more detrimental, possibly unintended consequences because those who are ramming this budget through are more concerned with wreaking havoc in the next couple of months rather than thinking about the decades of damage it will do.