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Gov. Pat McCrory signs charter school bill

Gov. Pat McCrory said Thursday that he has signed a charter school bill that drew partisan debate over disclosure of administrators’ salaries and whether gay students were adequately protected.

The bill requires charter schools to abide by the Public Records Law, including disclosure of teacher salaries. But it does not require the disclosure of names and salaries of administrators hired by for-profit management companies that often contract with charter schools.

Critics, including Mecklenburg Democrat Rep. Tricia Cotham, said that could allow charter schools to improperly hire or pay those administrators with public money.

An earlier version of the bill would have shielded all charter school employees from disclosing pay. McCrory vowed to veto the bill over that provision, and it was later stricken.

The N.C. House passed the bill 62-36 in late July. It had passed the state Senate unanimously the day before. At the time, McCrory said he still had concerns with the bill, but would review it before deciding whether to take action.

“I am pleased the legislature responded to my concerns and required full transparency for the names and salaries of all charter school teachers and employees,” McCrory said in a statement Thursday. He said the bill would hold charter schools to the “highest standards of transparency, ethics and student performance.”

McCrory said he has directed the State Board of Education to make sure that charter contracts with private companies were transparent about administrator pay.

Another portion of the bill prohibits charter schools from discriminating against students. The bill spells out protection from discrimination on the basis of race, gender or disability, but does not include language about sexual orientation. Some Democrats had said charter schools may be able to exclude lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered students.

Republican lawmakers said they would receive the same protections as any other student under state law.

Dunn: 704-358-5235; Twitter: @andrew_dunn
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