The Latest: Chairman isn't aiming to split certain districts
Feb. 21, 2018
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on a North Carolina legislative committee examining the division of local school districts meeting for the first time (all times local):
A leader of a North Carolina General Assembly committee examining issues on whether public school districts should be divided says the panel won't recommend legislation splitting up specific school systems.
Rep. Bill Brawley of Mecklenburg County said the goal of the House-Senate committee meeting for the first time Wednesday will be to collect facts to guide the debate at the Legislative Building and within local communities. Brawley says he's unsure there's enough time before a May 1 committee report deadline to even recommend a process where any district could be broken up.
Wake County and the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school districts are among the top 20 by enrollment nationwide. Some have suggested that splitting up those systems would lead to more local autonomy and improved student outcomes. But others are worried it will cost more and could lead to re-segregated schools.
Some North Carolina legislators believe it's worth looking at whether allowing the breakup of school districts following decades of district mergers makes sense for students and local governments.
A General Assembly committee studying the potential division of districts holds its first meeting Wednesday.
The state has had 115 districts across its 100 counties since 2004. There were 174 districts in the 1950's before city-county school board mergers increased for the sake of racial equity or fiscal efficiency.
Today, a dozen districts have more than 25,000 students. Some argue spitting districts up could make them more effective. Others worry it could lead to the re-segregation of schools.
The committee is supposed to report to the full legislature by May 1. This year's work session begins a couple weeks later.