Bill that would allow students to choose schools postponed

by: Paige Hansen Updated:


CHARLOTTE - On Monday, lawmakers decided to postpone a bill that aims to expand school choice options for North Carolina families.

Local education leaders say they are happy to learn the bill will be discussed further before it moves forward. If passed as-is, the bill would allow students to go to any school they want, making it logistically challenging for districts.

“I would like to see it passed because I want my grandkids to get the higher education,” said Carol Stevens, who cares for her seven grandchildren.

Supporters say the bill would make the playing field more equal, giving students the chance to go to a school other than the one in their neighborhood.

“It’s a good thing if they provide the transportation, because a lot of parents cannot,” Stevens said.

Legislatures are discussing whether that would be a requirement.

“It will cost more in transportation dollars or if we’re not going to provide transportation, then that will deny that choice that is so desirable, apparently, in this plan,” said Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools member Eric Davis.

In a statement to Channel 9, CMS Superintendent Dr. Heath Morrison said the district supports increased school choice but added, “We feel strongly that this type of change requires more public attention, dialogue and overall community engagement.”

Davis said if legislators are concerned with student equality, that should be the focus -- instead of figuring out how to move students around.

Currently if a CMS student wants to transfer schools within the district, he or she has to file a request to transfer. However, because of space issues, many are not approved.

Channel 9 received numbers from CMS Monday.  In the 2013-2014 school year, the district received 6,189 requests for transfer.  That number includes any duplicate and voided requests.  Of those, CMS has denied 1,747 requests and approved 2,893.