CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — A large North Carolina school system has effectively blocked school construction in four small towns that received authority to create their own charter schools.

A Charlotte-Mecklenburg school board policy approved this week appeared as a sharp response to the legislature's action in June to give the powers to Matthews, Mint Hill, Huntersville and Cornelius.

The Charlotte Observer reported the board's act would allow the communities to return to the system's construction priority list if they approve 15-year moratoriums on launching charter schools.

Board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart said the policy was reasonable because the system can't afford building where they may compete with town-operated charters.

Rep. Bill Brawley of Matthews sponsored the municipal charter bill and says the board's policy punishes children of parents seeking to remain in conventional public schools.