HB 514: Frequently Asked Questions

Posted on Thursday April 26, 2018
Is Matthews holding a Town Hall Meeting on HB 514? 
No. There is a Community Discussion scheduled for Saturday, April 28 from 9-11am at Matthews Town Hall, but this has been planned for some time. The purpose of this meeting is to seek input from residents and business owners about the future of Matthews and to understand their vision and desires for the Town. Many issues – including traffic, parks and recreation, historic preservation, along with the education of students in Matthews - will be discussed. The input from this meeting will be crafted into vision statements used by Town leadership to make decisions in the years ahead. This process was last completed back in 2005 and was used to develop the Town's current Vision 2020 statements.

What is HB 514? 
House Bill 514 is legislation in the North Carolina General Assembly sponsored by State Rep. Bill Brawley. It would give certain localities the right to start their own charter school, should they choose to do so. The bill has passed the House and now awaits approval by the Senate. 

Did the Town Board vote to support HB 514?
Yes, as part of their legislative agenda (see next question) by a vote of 4-3.

What did the Town Board actually vote on? 
The Town Board of Commissioners approved their annual legislative agenda on Monday, April 23 in a 4-3 vote. HB 514 is part of the legislative agenda, which lists several items that the Town would like state leaders to support or oppose, including tax reform and transportation related items. Included in this agenda is support for HB 514. 

Does the entire Board of Commissioners support HB 514?
No. The vote to support the legislative agenda (including HB 514) was 4-3. To learn more about the viewpoints on both sides of this issue, please read the following opinion pieces:
Mayor Paul Bailey in The Matthews Mint Hill Weekly
Mayor Pro-Tem John Higdon in The Charlotte Observer

We are happy with our public schools here in Matthews. Why would we want to start a charter school?
The Town of Matthews is fortunate to have several excellent schools in our town. HB 514 does not create a Matthews municipal charter school; it gives Matthews the right to start a municipal charter school, should the Town ever choose to do so. There is no intent at this time to begin pursuing a municipal charter school for Matthews. 

If HB 514 becomes state law, will my child have to attend a charter school? 
No. If HB 514 becomes state law, extensive additional research and input from the community will be sought prior to the Town Board considering any additional action. 

As with other charter schools, a municipal charter school would co-exist with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Parents would have the same choices they have now for their students. Parents and students satisfied with their current school would remain at that school. The municipal charter school would be another option.

Is Matthews breaking away from CMS?
No. Should HB514 eventually be signed into state law, it only gives the locality the right to create their own charter school - it does not mean that the Town of Matthews will take any action, let alone break away from CMS. The Town Board's vote was in no way a vote to break away from CMS. 

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