North Carolina charter schools want a court to force counties and school districts to consider their requests for the same funds that regular public schools receive for buildings, new buses, and equipment.
Seven charter schools and more than 50 students and parents who filed suit last week in Mecklenburg County Superior Court believe the North Carolina and federal constitutions give them the same right to access to capital money.
The 1996 law creating charter schools and a 1998 state legal opinion say the schools essentially can only receive public money to hire teachers, buy textbooks, and pay other operating expenses. Although some public money can be used by charter schools to lease buildings, a dedicated capital-outlay fund held by counties with county and state money is off-limits.
The lawsuit contends that disparity runs counter to the state constitution.
A version of this article appeared in the September 30, 2009 edition of Education Week as N.C. Charter Schools Sue for Access to State, Local Capital Funding