• Jeffrey Zalles

Don't Vote for the Fox

North Carolina’s schools are in crisis as the Republican-controlled General Assembly allows tax dollars to be siphoned from public schools into the hands of for-profit charter schools. These charter schools can make money for their investors because they are exempt from ... (certain) rules, regulations and statutes that apply to traditional public schools. For instance, charter schools have no curriculum requirements, no class-size restrictions, are only required to have 50 percent of teachers licensed, and are not required to disclose how they spend public money.

This year charter schools will receive $581 million, a portion of which will be paid out as profits to investors, forcing many public schools to reduce staff, programs and other expenditures. As more and more funds are diverted, the traditional schools will continue to deteriorate, and eventually the education of our children will be left in the hands of private businesses whose primary concern is the bottom line.

There are currently two charter schools in Brunswick County, both owned and operated by the for-profit Roger Bacon Academy. The headmaster of Charter Day School in Leland is Laurie Benton, the wife of Jerry Benton, a Republican candidate for a seat on the Brunswick County Board of Education. This represents a clear conflict of interest. Do we really want to put a fox in the hen house? Would we elect the spouse of a Chemours executive to serve on the board of our water utility?