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House proposal would allow charter schools to withhold employee's names from public disclosure

Charlotte Observer (6/27/14): As some charter school's around the state have balked at providing employee names and salaries under the public records law, the Senate moved to make it clear that charter schools must comply. The House approved an amendment to the bill Thursday that would allow the schools to withhold only the employees' names. 

Media outlets across the state have requested access to employee names and salary information under the N.C. Public Records law. Several charter schools have declined to provide the information, citing privacy concerns. In April, State Charter School Director Joel Medley issued a memo reminding charter schools that as part of their agreement with the state to operate they agreed to be subject to the public records and open meetings laws. Medley also informed schools that failed to comply that they would be at risk of losing their charter status. 

Charter schools are nonprofit corporations that receive tax money, including a portion of the local school board's allotment, to educate students as an alternative to public school systems. 

Senate Bill 793 sought to clarify that charter schools are subject to the public records and open meetings laws, as well as make some other reforms to the charter schools program. The bill passed the senate on June 17. During final debate in the House on Thursday, Rep. Charles Jeter of Huntersville introduced an amendment that exempts charter schools from disclosing employees names. Salaries would still be open to inspection. Jeter's amendment passed the House, as did the overall bill. 

The bill does not effect the status of public school employees, whose names and salaries are open to public inspection. 

Read the Observer's coverage here

Jonathan Jones,
6/27/2014 1:20 PM