Pittsboro, NC – One of the items on the agenda for Monday evening’s Chatham County School Board meeting is a Charter School Resolution. Superintendent, Dr. Anthony Jackson will recommend “that the Chatham County Schools Board of Education approves the Resolution Opposing House Bill 219, “Charter School Omnibus” and that a copy of the resolution be forwarded to members of our local delegation and bill sponsors in the North Carolina General Assembly.”
House Bill 219, also known as the “Charter School Omnibus” bill would allow charter schools to claim a share of previously protected funding raised specifically to support our local school system. The resolution provisions in the legislation that would allow the removal of current restrictions that forbid charter schools from accessing funds currently held in the local district’s Fund 8 Miscellaneous Grants category.
Passage of this bill would create an unfair advantage by requiring local districts to share funds currently held in our restricted Fund 8 category with local charter schools. Funds held in Fund 8 are derived by funding specifically secured to support programs that are offered only in the district, grants secured by the district for specific programs, and/or funds raised by school support organizations for school-related events, activities or programs. Opposition is based on the fact that passage of this legislation would be harmful to Chatham County Schools specifically, and to traditional schools respectively across the state.
Allowing charter schools access to funding that was raised specifically for traditional public schools is unfair and would put traditional schools at a disadvantage by depleting supplemental resources needed to offer extra and co-curricular opportunities and resources for students.
Supporting this resolution would align Chatham County Schools in solidarity with districts all across the state in opposition to House Bill 219. This legislation is harmful to our district and to traditional public schools. Opposition of the bill will ensure that our students continue to have access to the programs and resources they need to succeed.
Resolution by the Chatham County Board of Education Opposing House Bill 219, “Charter School Omnibus”
Current Law Provides Equal Local Funding for all K-12 Public School Students
WHEREAS, North Carolina operates two (2) primary systems of public education, charter schools and public schools operated by local school boards (“local school districts”);
WHEREAS, charter schools are not legally required to pay any funds to local school districts regardless of the source of revenue including federal funds, grants, and gifts;
WHEREAS, over the past twenty (20) years the courts of North Carolina and the General Assembly have confronted the issue of fair funding for students attending charter schools and local school districts in a manner that has created equal K-12 funding and put an end to contentious litigation caused by the original charter funding model;
WHEREAS, local funding given to local school districts and placed in the district’s Local The current Expense Fund (designated by the State as Fund 2) is shared with charter schools on an equal per pupil basis including county appropriations, fines and forfeitures, and special school tax dollars flowing to a charter school located in the taxing district;
WHEREAS, the current law recognizes that local school districts receive certain funds that
should not be apportioned or “shared” with charter schools because 1) the charter school does not
provide the program or service for which the funds are received, 2) the funds are simply a
reimbursement to the local school district for unrestricted monies already spent including
revenues previously shared with charter schools, and/or 3) the monies are legally restricted and
cannot be shared;
WHEREAS, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 115C-426(c) contains the list of funds not shared with charter
schools as follows: reimbursements, indirect costs, tuition, fees for actual costs, sales tax
revenues distributed using the ad valorem method pursuant to G.S. 105-472(b)(2), sales tax
refunds, gifts and grants restricted as to use, trust funds, federal appropriations made directly to
local school administrative units under G.S. 160A-700, and funds received for prekindergarten
programs; in addition, the appropriation or use of fund balance or interest income by a local
school administrative unit shall not be construed as a local current expense appropriation;
WHEREAS, House Bill 219, Part VII, deletes the list of protected funds with the exception of
trust funds, federal grants restricted as to use, and special programs;
WHEREAS, House Bill 219 would require school districts to share private donations and
gifts, PTO and booster fundraising profits, and interest earned on savings;
WHEREAS, by deleting the list of protected funds, House Bill 219 creates unequal rather
than equal local funding for K-12 education, including but not limited to, the following
1) Fund Balance: Charter schools do not have to share their savings account (i.e.,
Fund Balance) with local school districts. This is money saved by local school districts from
prior years during which eligible revenues were already shared with charter schools. “Sharing”
such funds a second time would be double-dipping and a windfall to charter schools at the
expense of local school district students;
2) Federal Reimbursements: Charter schools do not have to share any federal
reimbursements with local school districts. By law, many federal programs require schools to
spend unrestricted revenues on specific purposes before getting reimbursed that amount by
the federal government. Thus, no new money is received and any unrestricted revenues used
for the federal program derive from funds that have already been shared with charter schools.
“Sharing” such funds a second time would be double-dipping and a windfall to charter
schools at the expense of local school district students;
3) Pre-K Classroom Funds: Charter schools can apply for these funds directly and
they do not have to share them with a local school district. By law, NC Pre-K dollars and
Smart Start dollars cannot be given to charter schools directly by a local school district. Thus, if
HB 219 passes school districts would be forced to use even more unrestricted local dollars to pay
charter schools a proportionate share of these funds, resulting in charter school students getting a
higher amount of K-12 dollars simply because the local school district chose to assist the
community by operating one or more Pre-K classrooms. “Sharing” such funds a second time
would be double-dipping and a windfall to charter schools at the expense of local school
4) Tuition and Fees for Actual Costs: If a charter school chooses to allow public use
of its facilities, operate a summer program, before school program, or after school program it can
charge fees that are not shared with the local school district. Local school districts charge
such fees to cover the additional costs of facility use and/or extra programming because these
activities are beyond the normal operating costs for K-12 education. “Sharing” such funds would
be a windfall to charter schools at the expense of local school district students; and
5) Sales Tax Refunds: Charter schools are reimbursed 100% of state and local
sales tax amounts they pay and do not have to share these funds with local school districts.
Local school districts only receive a reimbursement of local sales tax amounts paid by the school
district. This is another reimbursement. “Sharing” such funds a second time would be doubledipping and a windfall to charter schools at the expense of local school district students;
WHEREAS, if HB 219 passes, the total financial impact to the Chatham County Schools in lost
K-12 operating funds based on FY 2022-23 will be substantial;
WHEREAS, if HB 219 passes, the total financial impact to all local school districts could
expand significantly over time and lead to egregious results based on potential future increases
in charter school enrollments of both in-person and virtual school students; and
WHEREAS, HB 219 contains other provisions that will cause uncertainty and encourage future
litigation in a currently, well-settled area of the law, such as the current law prohibiting
supplemental school tax dollars from leaving the tax district approved by voters.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the Chatham County Board of Education opposes
House Bill 219, and favors the current law that fairly and equally apportions local funding.
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that:
- The Chair and Superintendent are authorized to disseminate this Resolution to
members of the North Carolina General Assembly and the Governor; and
- The Board encourages parents, students, and other community members to
contact their North Carolina legislators to oppose House Bill 219.
Adopted by the Chatham County Board of Education this 3rd day of April, 2023.
Gary L. Leonard, Chair
Del Turner, Vice-Chair
Julie Bridenstine, Board Member
David Hamm, Board Member
Jane Allen Wilson, Board Member
Anthony D. Jackson, Superintendent/Secretary