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N.C. 'Open Enrollment' Bill Would Allow Students to Attend Any Public School

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North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would clear the way for students to attend the public school of their choosing, at no cost.

The "open-enrollment" bill would eliminate many of the barriers that limit student enrollment choices in the state and instead mirror the state's charter-school enrollment process, according to a Raleigh News & Observer story. A draft of the bill was sent to the Joint Legislative Program Evaluation Oversight Committee this week.

School districts would be mandated to establish a process to allow parents to seek enrollment in a school anywhere in the state. Denials would be permitted for a variety of reasons, including classroom overcrowding, according to the News & Observer story. The bill would not require districts to provide transportation for students.

Currently, North Carolina families must pay tuition and receive permission from their home district to attend traditional public schools outside their district's enrollment boundaries.

Republican Sen. Fletcher L. Hartsell, who helped develop the legislation, told WUNC public radio, that the bill creates a "level playing field" among traditional public schools and charter schools.

But Leanne Winner, director of governmental relations for the North Carolina School Boards Association, told WUNC that its members had financial and logistical concerns about the bill. 

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