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Senate | June 11, 2014 | Committee Room | Education Finance

Full MP3 Audio File

[REP. MARTIN] … be what planning we might need to do in the future, for example, to prepare for that sort of deployment. The additional benefit of the bill also is that it will enable us to make a better case for Federal impact aid. Particularly in our military districts, with large installations, that’s a huge cut out of their property tax base, and the Federal Government provides impact aid to account for that burden, and with this information acquired from this bill, we’ll be able to make a better case for that impact aid. This comes to the Committee as a recommendation of Education Oversight, and I believe there’s a Senate companion bill that Senator Tillman, in the capacity of Chair of Ed Oversight was the primary sponsor of. My primary sponsors on the House side are Representatives Holloway, Johnson and Horn, who couldn’t be here now, left it to me to present it. It passed the House unanimously. Appreciate your support, Mr. Chair. Happy to answer any questions. [CHAIR] All right, thank you. Do we have any questions? Senator Brown. [SEN. BROWN] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Representative Martin, good bill. You know, having a county that’s a … gosh, I guess, half of our school population’s military related, I think. This will surely help my county, so I move for favor to report write down. [CHAIR] All right. We have a motion for a favorable report. Any questions? Discussion? Seeing none, all in favor say Aye. [AUDIENCE RESPONSE] Aye. [CHAIR] Opposed, No. [AUDIENCE NO RESPONSE] [CHAIR] The ayes have it, and the motion passes. [REP. MARTIN] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, Members. [CHAIR] Thank you. And the second bill that we have is Senate Bill 793, Charter School Modifications. I recognize Senator Tillman to explain. Do we have a PCS for this? We do. So, do we have a motion to adopt the PCS? [AUDIENCE MEMBER] So moved. [CHAIR] All in favor of the motion say Aye. [AUDIENCE RESPONSE] Aye. [CHAIR] Opposed, No. [AUDIENCE NO RESPONSE] [CHAIR] The ayes have it, and the PCS is before you. And Senator Tillman is recognized to explain the PCS. [SEN. TILLMAN] Mr. Chairman. [CHAIR] Yes, Senator Tillman, please proceed. [SEN. TILLMAN] They have a copy of the bill? Believe they all do, and if you don’t mind to speed this up, I will ask Rupde [sp] if she will give us a quick analysis of this bill, and what we’ve done with the PCS. We did get the PCS approved? Did we approve the PCS? [CHAIR] Yes, we have. [SEN. TILLMAN] Okay. All right. [CHAIR] Yes, Rupde, please go through the bill. [ MS. RUPDE ] The PCS for Senate Bill 793 would do the following: in Section 1 it would provision that a teacher who is employed by the Board of Directors of the charter school and is teaching in the charter school could serve – may, it’s discretionary – as a non-voting member of the Board of Directors. Section 2 would provide that the chart … excuse me, the State Board of Education, if they are renewing … doing a renewal charter, that renewal has to be for a period of ten years. They are not required to renew, but if they do a renewal, it would have to be for ten years. However, the term of the renewal could be less than ten years if the charter school applying for the renewal has not provided financially sound audits for the prior three years, and academic outcomes for the prior three years have not been comparable to academic outcomes in the LEA in which the charter school is located. Section 3 is from … excuse me … is the same as last week. It provides that charters with the mission of single gender education may limit admission on the basis of gender. Section 4 … Section 3 and 4 make that change. And then in Section 5, it adds in the provision, or clarifies in law in the charter school statutes, that the charter school and the Board of Directors are subject to the Public Records Act and Open Meetings laws for the purposes of the charter schools’ employees’ personal records … personnel records, excuse me, they would be subject to the requirements of … the same requirements that traditional public school employees are subject to in the statutes. And then Section 6 of the bill … current law requires the State Board to adopt rules for a competitive bid process for the assumption of a charter school that’s showing inadequate performance. It appears that these rules have not been really adopted or process has not been put into place, so this basically gives them a little nudge and says ‘you need to go ahead and do this and you have to do it by January 15 of 2015,’ and puts in some criteria what the State Board would have to have interested entities who ...

Interested in taking over a charter school would have to meet. Then section 7 just provides that the reviser of statutes can re-codify the charter school statutes to provide more statute slots for additional changes that may be needed in the future. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you ??? and Senator Tillman you’re recognized if you have any further words to share about the bill. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you ??? I think that’s pretty self-explanatory and you’ve got a copy of the bill, of the PCS in front of you. If you have questions I will try to go into specifics. This is just continuing the process of trying to codify as best we can operation for the charter schools and the processes involved. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Great thank you. I see some questions, I have Senator Parmon. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chairman. Senator Tillman on the advisory board, who appoints that advisory board and the make up of that board? [SPEAKER CHANGE] ??? could you give us the way they’re appointed. House and senate has appointments to it. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Staff please go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Sure. The advisory board membership is the state superintendent of public instruction or the designee who is the secretary of the advisory board and it’s a nonvoting member and then the board has eleven voting members. Three appointed by the governor including the chair, three members appointed by the general assembly upon the recommendation of the president pro tem, three members appointed upon the recommendation of the speaker of the house of representatives, one member appointed by the state board of education and the lieutenant governor. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Are these the same members that’s members of the school board, the state board of education? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Tillman. [SPEAKER CHANGE] You can see we’ve got the state school superintendent who sits on the board as a nonvoting member and we do have members appointed by the governor and the lieutenant governor. Do we have an appointment from the state board of education on the charter board? That I’m not sure. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Staff says we do have one member, yes. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Senator Tillman the reason I’m asking this question, in the past the advisory committee was made up of the state board members. The same people on the state board of education and that committee would be the ones to make the recommendations for renewal or denial and the process of repeal also came back to the same members and I’m just trying to establish is this the same process? [SPEAKER CHANGE] Oh no, that process was changed when we set the advisory board up. You don’t want board of education members recommending policy and changes to the board of education, that wouldn’t work no. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Follow up, and that’s what I’m trying to establish is not the same process that was in place before. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Oh no. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Okay thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Very good, I do have a few questions. We’ll go in order, I have Senator Robinson next. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Thank you Mr. Chair. Senator Tillman you and Senator Soucek know that I have requested some information regarding this of the 71 applicants for charter schools, 11 were approved last time and I haven’t been, I support charter schools, I have been against the funding model in terms of taking away, but I want to make sure that there is fairness in terms of the process and I know your intent with the advisory board is to make sure that happens so my question is, when I got this list I want to know because a lot of the proponents for charter schools, those who wanted them, wanted to establish that they were out of communities, that felt there were disparities, they pulled people together and form their organizations and went, and I know there’s a Triad Academy in Greensboro does an excellent job and etc. So I want to make sure that, I want to know how many of these are from entities outside of the state of North Carolina as opposed to people who are within the state who are proponents of charter schools, can staff tell me that? I do have the list but I can’t tell except for Kipp and one or two others how many of those are outside corporations and how many of those are entities within the state. [SPEAKER CHANGE] Well I can tell you this. All of the EMOs were disapproved in this last round which our out of state mainly managed charter operations and staff can tell you if they know exactly how many are totally in state and..

…not aligned with a managed company. [SPEAKER CHANGES] That might be some information we can get you, but I’m not sure what that question really has anything to do with what’s in the bill right here. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, it does because I have the question. It’s about the chartered school and the advisory board it does. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson, this doesn’t change anything to do with the advisory board. It was already established and it doesn’t change anything. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Soucek, as a member of this committee… [SPEAKER CHANGES] Excuse me. You may go through me and request speaking, you’re not just arguing with me. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, you’re talking with me. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sentor Robinson, you’re not recognized to speak. Does anyone have any other questions? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe, Steven Walker may be able to tell us. He’s the Lt. Governor’s designee on that board, and I believe he may know about how many were outside entities or whether were approved or not. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, please identify yourself and the organization you are with. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’m Stephen Walker I’m the the general counsel policy director for the Lt. Governor, and I also serve as his designee on the charter school advisory board. In answer to your question, the way that charter school law is set up now is that all groups that apply for a charter actually have to be a North Carolina non-profit corporation that actually applies for a charter. Where I guess the issue comes in with a DMO. DMO technically can’t apply for a charter. A DMO is basically a for profit educational management organization. CMO’s are your non-profit organizations. Now, a non-profit org that contracts with an educational management that is outside of the state. Now, we do have a couple that are acting or trying to become more active by (inaudible) North Carolina as far as traditional schools, charter schools USA dot NHA. I don’t believe charter schools USA has any board schools set to work over my objections, because I wanted to send some of them to court on the board. (inaudible). As far as NHA, NHA had, I believe one school is contracted with NHA. The schools given a recommendation to go to board is still pending. The state of the board they have not voted on yet. The state board of education has not voted on that yet. Most of the schools that who were approved are going to be your community based schools or (inaudible) based schools that were from the beginning. It is a home grown effort under North Carolina law. Again, (inaudible) for contracting those out outside the school. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, you had a question? You’re recognized for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Walker summarized that beautifully. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Great. Thank you. And, I had a question from Senator Jenkins. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you chairman. This question is either for Senator Tillman or staff. Within the section that deals with the personnel records and saying that they have to comply with the same thing that public schools do. Which I think is a very good idea. My question simply is within this law, would a public records request allow a specific name and amount of pay? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] This will be now there under the same open laws and full disclosure as the public schools. Which mean, I believe, that information could be made available. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. What you’re saying, is that if someone wanted to inquire as to what Jim Jones got paid at ABC Charter school, they could find that out? Certainly not social security number, or where they live or anything else, but they could find that out or they could inquire as to who are all of the first grade teachers and what are they paid? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe that is correct. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Robinson, you had a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, Mr. Chair. Thank you for recognizing me. Senator Tillman, in terms of the follow up question I had earlier. It says in here in terms of the conditions for renewal. In terms of sound audits, etc. Is any kind of counsel or discussion given to these charter schools who are denied in terms of how they might clean up whatever the issues are so that they can re-apply. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator Tillman? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Any further questions regarding the bill before us? I see we now do have a motion for a favorable report. All in favor, say aye, opposed no. The ayes have it. That is a motion that is in favor for the PCS and unfavorable to the original bill. That is all the business we have before us. I appreciate your time.

And the meeting is adjourned.