News: Quick Takes

Achievement School District bill passes House, heads to governor

A measure to rehabilitate five of North Carolina’s failing public schools passed the state House and Senate on consecutive days after facing opposition from Democratic lawmakers who said the bill would allow charter school companies to exploit taxpayers while perpetuating low performance among struggling students.

Republican backers of House Bill 1080, “Achievement School District,” said their Democratic counterparts were willing to trap students in failing schools.

H.B. 1080 was introduced earlier this year by Rep. Rob Bryan, R-Mecklenburg. The plan is modeled after Tennessee and Louisiana programs that removed failing public schools from state control, placing them instead under charter-like management.

Under the proposal, the State Board of Education would place five low-performing public schools (selected from those statewide ranking in the bottom 5 percent of performance measures) into the ASD. There, a superintendent would recommend an independent entity, such as a charter school operator, to run each achievement school.

The amended version of H.B. 1080 passed the Senate on Tuesday by a 35-14 margin. The next day, despite similar objections from House Democrats, the House concurred with the Senate’s revisions, passing the bill 67-39.

The bill now heads to Gov. Pat McCrory’s office.