School Board opposes Senate Bill 8

Published 10:53 am Friday, March 11, 2011

JACKSON — The majority of members of the Northampton County Board of Education chose to voice their opposition to Senate Bill 8 here Monday evening.

At their regularly scheduled meeting, the school board voted to support a resolution opposing the proposed legislation that would lift the cap on charter schools and take funding away from public schools.

“The charter schools are asking for funding from all sources as it come to the Northampton County schools,” said Board member Kelvin Edwards. “What we’re doing is opposing Senate Bill 8, saying that we do not want them to have access to all funding.”

He continued by saying, “As you know, once a child leaves Northampton County Schools and goes to the charter school, the ADM (funding) goes with the child as it is now. However, what the charter schools are doing is asking for access to all funding.”

According to the resolution, the bill would entitle charter schools to a portion of all funds that flow through public school systems, including donations from private entities, reimbursement of expenses (such activities, bus fees and gymnasium rental fees), grants that school boards took affirmative action to secure for programs that charter schools choose not to offer (Head Start, More-at-Four, JROTC and free and reduced lunch), fund balances and child nutrition funds.

Board member Erica Smith-Ingram noted if the public felt the same about the bill they needed to contact their representatives.

She added Representative Michael Wray and Senator Ed Jones have opposed the bill.

Edwards said the local charter school (Gaston Prep) will be offering Kindergarten next year and the school plans on adding a grade level every year until they close the gap from K-12.

Board member Rhonda Taylor made a motion to support the resolution and Lafayette Majette offer a second. The measure passed with Donald Johnson saying he was abstaining from the vote.

According to the Board’s Rules of Order policy (#1370), Johnson’s vote still would have counted as in support of the resolution. The only way Johnson could have abstained is if he officially recused himself from the matter, which would have required board approval. Johnson did not sign the resolution.