Education

Charter takeover bill won’t get a vote this year, Rep. Bryan says

State Rep. Rob Bryan of Mecklenburg County says he’ll bring his charter takeover plan for a vote in the 2016 session.
State Rep. Rob Bryan of Mecklenburg County says he’ll bring his charter takeover plan for a vote in the 2016 session. rlahser@charlotteobserver.com

A controversial plan to pilot charter takeover of low-performing district schools in North Carolina won’t come up for a vote this year, state Rep. Rob Bryan said Thursday.

Bryan, a Mecklenburg Republican with a leadership role in education, said in August that he planned to introduce a bill that would force five of the state’s lowest-scoring schools to close or convert to independently run charter schools. But he said Thursday that prolonged work on the budget squeezed out time to deal with the bill in the House education committee.

He said the new plan is to have a House select committee study the proposal and hold public meetings early in 2016, with a vote in next year’s short session. That would still allow schools to reopen as charters in 2017-18, he said.

The plan to create a state Achievement District, modeled on charter takeovers in New Orleans and Tennessee, sparked questions about the plan itself and the process. Bryan said he would substitute his bill for another one introduced in February, circumventing a spring deadline for introducing new legislation and eliminating much of the public discussion that would have occurred had it been introduced earlier.

But Bryan maintains that the plan was reviewed and revised extensively by politicians and educators of both parties.

“It’s been way more vetted than most other bills we do,” he said Thursday. And he said he doubts that extending the public debate will eliminate the controversy.

“The reality is there’s going to be a lot of objections to it from people who just don’t want an achievement district,” he said.

Ann Doss Helms: 704-358-5033, @anndosshelms

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