Despite growing popularity among Americans for school choice options, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed a bill that would have increased enrollment at two virtual charter schools in the state.
The legislation Cooper vetoed would have authorized the State Board of Education to remove enrollment caps for the charter schools as part of its pilot program.
The existing law caps enrollment to 1,500 students in the schools' first year and up to 20 percent – but not to exceed 2,592 students – in the following years. The SBE can remove the enrollment threshold at the beginning of the fourth year if it sees fit. Both schools have been operating since 2015.
In his veto message, Cooper said he wants to leave the decision up to the board.
“Decisions on adding more students should remain with the Board so it can measure progress and make decisions that will provide the best education for students,” he said.
A recent national poll revealed that 78 percent of Americans support public school choice options.
The governor also questioned the viability of the programs. North Carolina Virtual Academy and North Carolina Cyber Academy both received “D” letter grades from SBE metrics that measure school performance and academic growth.
Republican Speaker of the House Tim Moore condemned Cooper on Twitter for his decision to veto the bill.
“Expanding these education opportunities for students enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the state House to help kids learn in a setting that works best for them. The Governor is now blocking innovative learning as well as school construction & pay raises,” Cooper wrote.
The bill would have implemented background checks for charter board directors, lowered achievement standards and allowed the state superintendents to approve construction bonds.