Our Schools First has sent the following letter to members of the NC House Education Committee. We urge you to contact your legislators at the addresses listed below.
My name is James Hogan, and I am writing to you as the spokesperson for Our Schools First PAC, a public education advocacy group based in Iredell County. Our bi-partisan group represents more than 21,000 families in Iredell whose children attend both traditional and charter public schools. Today, we urge you to take more time in considering charter school funding via House Bill 539 and vote against this measure.
While much of OS1’s work has focused on traditional public schools, we want you to know that we care very much about adequate funding for charter schools. However, the North Carolina legislature’s approach to charter funding, which has come via piecemeal appropriations pitting traditional and charter schools against one another, doesn’t work. Traditional public and charter schools should not have to be adversaries.
We echo the sentiments many of your colleagues have expressed about a more stable, long-term solution to charter school funding. We support a new revenue source that is dedicated to charter schools, one that ensures their funding is secure—and one that doesn’t endanger operating revenues that existing, traditional public schools depend upon to adequately fund their operations.
House Bill 539 does neither of those things. It whittles away vital traditional public school dollars and seeks to appropriate funding supplied to traditional public schools for services charters may not intend to provide. Further, it penalizes traditional public schools by re-designating funds provided from grants—grants the charter programs themselves can apply for. In this case, equal opportunity already exists.
In Iredell County, our traditional public school systems stand to lose a sum of money that would jeopardize their success. The General Assembly has stated time and time again that it isn’t anti-public education. Now is the time to demonstrate that you are indeed supportive of our school system. By voting against HB539 and working to find a better solution to charter school funding, the General Assembly can help all public schools succeed.
Please know we are happy to answer your questions or hear your feedback, and do know that we are encouraging families in Iredell County to reach out to you directly to ask for your help in defeating HB539.
James D. Hogan
Our Schools First PAC
Write to the NC House Education committee using the email addresses below. Please note: it’s better for you to compose your own letter than it is to copy and paste the info. Read more about HB 539 here, or find a FAQ sheet on HB 539 here.