Nearly two-thirds of North Carolina voters (65 percent) favor the state legislature passing a law to raise the current cap on public charter schools, according to a public opinion survey released today. The survey found that support for lifting the cap was strongest among African Americans (69 percent). Support is also strong among parents (66 percent) and across party lines—65 percent of registered Democrats favor increasing the number of charter schools, as do 70 percent of unaffiliated voters and 61 percent of Republicans.

The public opinion survey also found that seven in 10 North Carolina voters (70 percent) favor allowing high-performing public charter schools to replicate or expand by opening up new campuses without counting against North Carolina’s current cap. Three in four (75 percent) African-American voters favor allowing successful charter schools to replicate, while 74 percent of North Carolina parents support charter school replication.

Nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of North Carolina voters also support President Obama’s recent call for states to expand the number of public charter schools, with support again higher among African Americans (75 percent).

“A clear majority of North Carolina voters want to see the current cap against the expansion of charter schools raised so that more families can enroll their children in charter schools,” said Stephen Raburn, Executive Director for the NC Alliance. “With thousands of students on charter school waiting lists, President Obama’s recent call for all states to allow more charter schools, and a public that is in favor of more charter schools, the time has come for a meaningful increase in our state’s charter school cap.”

North Carolina has 97 public charter schools serving more than 33,000 students. State law currently limits North Carolina’s public charter schools to only 100 schools. It is estimated that there are at least 16,000 students on wait lists in public charter schools across the state.

The North Carolina Alliance of Public Charter Schools is pushing to enact recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Commission, a group of education leaders appointed by the North Carolina State Board of Education in 2008 to examine public charter school in the state. The Commission recommendations include a new annualized cap that would allow up to six new public charter schools each year, allowing public charters with a proven track record of success (particularly those successful in closing the achievement gap for at-risk students) to replicate without counting towards the cap and allowing the first public charter school in a county without a charter school to not count towards the cap.

HB 856, legislation that would increase the charter school cap from 100 to 106, passed the North Carolina House last week and now moves on to the state Senate.

The survey of 600 North Carolina voters was commissioned by the Glover Park Group, a strategic communications firm based in Washington, DC on behalf of the North Carolina Alliance for Public Charter Schools.

About the North Carolina Alliance for Public Charter Schools
The North Carolina Alliance for Public Charter Schools (NC Alliance) is a 501c3 nonprofit organization based in Durham. Its mission is to advance quality educational opportunities for all North Carolina children by supporting and expanding successful public charter schools. The driving force behind this statewide public charter support organization is to achieve the enrollment growth potential by putting a strong emphasis on quality – with the resources and support infrastructure to back this up.