NC Senate Passes Bill Creating Board To Approve Charter Schools

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A bill creating a separate approval and oversight board for taxpayer-funded charter schools in North Carolina has passed the state Senate.

The Republican bill passed Tuesday creates a new board to approve charters and determine whether they're meeting expectations. The State Board of Education, which currently has final approval, could veto a charter board action within 45 days if three quarters of members oppose it.

Supporters of the bill argue charter schools offer choice to parents and introduce needed competition to the system. Critics argue charters aren't a true choice for the most disadvantaged because they're not required to provide busing or other services.

A Democratic amendment requiring charter schools to provide busing and free-or-reduced-price lunches within five years failed.

The bill now heads to the House.