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Carolina Journal Radio No. 760: Southport megaport proposal still stagnant

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
December 11, 2017 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 760: Southport megaport proposal still stagnant

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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December 11, 2017 12:00 am

A 600-acre waterfront property in Southport set aside for a state-run “megaport” remains vacant, and the N.C. State Ports Authority has no plans to develop or sell it. The property’s most recent tax appraisal also shows the land is worth half its original purchase price. Rick Henderson, Carolina Journal editor-in-chief, details the latest news surrounding this government project that has gone nowhere since the Ports Authority purchase the property in 2006. News media outlets have enjoyed longstanding exemptions from federal and state campaign finance restrictions. It makes sense to extend those exemptions to nonprofit social and civic groups that also inform the public. That’s the argument from Jon Riches, director of national litigation for the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Riches says extending the media exemption would help encourage more information about important public policy issues. Riches makes the case for protecting educational nonprofit groups’ donor privacy. North Carolina lawmakers continue to look for a long-term alternative to the state gas tax. They heard suggestions recently from Joung Lee, policy director for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials. Lee explained that state governments have identified more than 50 potential sources of state transportation funding. N.C. lawmakers recently heard a progress report on the nearly $1 billion in bond funding voters approved for new building construction and renovation projects throughout the University of North Carolina system. Several legislators raised questions about a single data point: the $464 average cost per square foot of new construction. You’ll hear their concerns, along with the response from the UNC system associate vice president overseeing bond-funded projects. North Carolina’s public charter school movement has seen great success in recent years. Success appears to have bred some complacency. That’s the assessment from Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research. Stoops explains why charter school advocates need to be prepared for potential pushback against recent reforms that have opened up charter school enrollment in the state.

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From Cherokee to current attack from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio amateur coca during the next hour Donna Martin this, I will explore some major issues affecting our state news media outlets of joy to long-standing exemption from campaign finance laws will hear from an expert who wants that same exemption extended to civic and social groups that also inform the public North Carolina lawmakers continue to search for a long-term alternative to the state gas tax advice recently from a national group representing state highway officials. Legislators also heard a recent update on bond funded building projects that you would see Us to hear their concerns about costs plus will learn why and advocate for North Carolina's public charter schools believes the charter school movement might be too complacent.

Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martin has choices with the Carolina Journal headline. Imagine owning 600 acres of waterfront property in Southport, North Carolina is pretty good right well that is the case for the state of North Carolina. In 2006. The State ports authority bought the land for $30 million and then set it aside for something called a mega port but so far no mega port just vacant land. Carolina Journal editor-in-chief Rick Henderson joins us now with the story which you can read@carolina.com.

Written by Don Carrington.

Welcome back to the show. I think you gotta first of all, in terms of the ports we know about the Port of Wilmington we know about the port of Morehead city. What's a mega port of the mega port was supposed to be a project that could handle even larger amounts of freight and cargo. The existing ports and also something that could handle it, so double-decker trains and things like that as we can handle if you really can't transport much, much larger individual shipments than the existing ports and that the idea was to build one here to handle new cargo coming from the Panama Canal, which of course is now had been widened and deepened and been able to handle larger carriers.

The operative word that you just used this idea). Apparently this was an idea more than 10 years ago and then at 2006, said that ports authority, bought the land but there must be some sort of what approved plan or something. While there wasn't a study feasibility study notes. One thing to see if this is an appropriate site from the forces of the state saw this property and said we wanted and got it and the idea that the port authority handles were to make this the supreme cargo shipping terminal in between New York and Florida that was the idea because the Morehead city of Wilmington really are appropriate for that purpose is been talk about that, but as it turns out those sports were right before things are population there that there's not necessarily in Southport and there are other logistical issues with that, but Morehead city is turned or sees itself as it turns out was a good side either the state really didn't worry about the ballpoint so they paid 30,042,006 and then went forward with trying to get some sort of plan approved.

Karen never problems.

Yes, there were a lot of problems with the main problem was that this land was adjacent to the Brunswick nuclear plant at at that progress. Progress energy to produce energy now operates and the issue with that is that the rail lines. It will be needed to transport cargo from the port to the mainland and then from there to trucking centers and things like that that rail line would have to go through the main escape area evacuation area of the nuclear plants are no in the truck. The average to the typical train taking cargo from the port would be a mile long, so this was a big hazard. This was a has really turns out the Don Carrington into the story force originally back up, leaving 2012 was someone who was an economic developer for progress energy's predecessor, Carolina PowerLite back at the time that they were first purchasing the land around the Brunswick's nuclear plant so he actually was looking into this and knew at the time that the nuclear plant was. It was established would have all sorts of restrictions on what sort of other industrial properties could be around their woman would be something that would possibly clog the rail lines are. You can't do that if you need to possibly transporting emergency equipment and things like that. If there were some sort of trouble at the plant itself, so the new plant becomes an issue but also folks in Southport didn't really like this idea either. And it's a beautiful community and lots of tourism there a lot of retirees and apparently they were pretty vocal about the other really were. There's a lot of local opposition to this the local legislative delegation. For the most part will strongly opposed with.

There are some people who are on the fence but then later turned against it.

The congressional delegation didn't particularly like it either the congressional delegation would've been involved in some extent providing some sort of federal funding or federal waivers from environmental regulations to make it happen and they weren't really all keen on it because they understood the possible risks, but for some reason folks stay ports authority didn't and so they went ahead with the with plans to do so. This was something that Gov. Mike Easley was really, really high on doing. And even though he lives in Southport.

It just did not come together and so the state ended up bending it after four thing.

As a result in part of Carolina Journal is reporting about the strong local opposition and the previously heretofore unreported problem with the nuclear plant there Rick this whole thing sounds like a classic case of putting the cart before the horse you buy the land for 30 million and then you start discovering that their issues and challenges to the mega port you wanted to build right in this. That's the problem that awful of economic developer projects with Carolina's done if we try to be a pioneer in something sometimes being an early adopters a good idea and we transport recently discovered with ready port theater, but there are all sorts of other economic development issues like that you're trying to something no one has done before. Sometimes there's a reason no one's done it before is because the woodwork and this was one of those examples in which you try to place this massive cargo facility been around, say, Long Beach, California or San Pedro or someplace like that. I think this is not a quiet area. This is a very was to be an incredible amount of activity a lot of noise potentially a lot of pollution and other things like that and folks in Southport said no we don't live there. Would we we can buy into that. We got here. Once this idea went south, widened the state sell the land that's real good question.

The state is not solely other parent. No plans to sell the land. Some of the local folks there who opposed the port think that the states can try to revive it at some point they may think this Amaya Cooper administration might be interested in doing that. There's no indication that that's the case either. But the interesting thing is that when there was apparently the must of been a party who is interested in purchasing the land because an appraisal of the land was done in 2013 and the appraisal said the lien came in at $15.2 million.

No, which is half of what the state paid 4+ the state also has paid $10 million in preparation for the and you got the cost of borrowing money, so the amount of debt service that was done to purchase this land. This is basically $50 million boondoggle estate sitting on right now that it might get $0.30 on the dollar for oh my gosh that's just incredible. So what are the options then, and perhaps most importantly, our state legislators or state officials that are running the ports authority concerned that they've got this this piece of land keeps losing value while they they have been pretty quiet about it so far there may well be some renewed interest in doing something about it.

I think what's of interest is a couple of the members of the state legislative delegation who were either mildly supporting the idea of America mega port or who were on the fence about have now turned against it. And so what they may well do is to force some sort of fire sale even if the state loses money just to get off the books to get on the tax rolls is not a textual analysis state owned at least to minimize losses and so that may be the next move will see what happens in the part of that has to be the Council status get involved that since the property transaction and I will see what happens if the if Journal simply makes an issue of it is the councils that gets involved so maybe the 600 acre parcel of land will join up with that state helicopter this and as the time you and I are talking, apparently, the legislature has instilled them look yet it can get on the stick and sell this this helicopter were not using unprecedented that the state would be in a position of having some sort of asset that they need to get rid out by buyer for nothing else they could always do something with the nature Conservancy or some such thing. Throttle you any money for it at all, or through them.

Take a heavy loss on their own things. It could possibly be done while it's an amazing story and you can read it Carolina Journal.com. It's written by Don Carrington failed mega port site still vacant and is losing value in talking with Rick Henderson's editor.

I think you can say with this much more Carolina Journal radio to come in just a moment government plays a key role in your life affecting your paycheck the way you educate your kids the way you do business. How can you tell if government is doing a good job making the right choices. Spending tax dollars wisely. Carolina Journal.com tackles those questions every day. The John Locke foundation publishes Carolina Journal imprint each month and on the web each day at Carolina. Journal.com you'll find exclusive investigative reports on topics.

No one else is covering what else a rundown of the best new stories, editorials and opinion columns in North Carolina. John Hood's daily Journal new stories and important public events@carolinajournal.tv and the voices of the newsmakers themselves at Carolina Journal radio and print on the air and on the web. You can find the information you need@carolinajournal.com welcome back Carolina Journal radio I Muskoka I news media outlets have long enjoyed exemptions from federal and state campaign finance laws.

The same cannot be said for nonprofit social and civic groups that play a similar role of informing the public, but our next guest thinks all of these groups should get the same type of treatment. John Bridges is director of national litigation for the Goldwater Institute's Scharf Norton Center for Constitutional litigation. Welcome to the program they sent me.

Mitch to we know if we followed how campaign finance laws work that typically news media outlets, newspapers, TV, radio, all of those news media outlets get exempted. No one says you can't say there's a report that because their news media jerked at drawing attention to the fact that other groups that play a similar role get very different treatment. Yeah, and it's important to understand the scope of the problem at the outset what were seen throughout the country is demands that were called 501(c)(3) organizations which are your traditional nonprofit organizations, they can be something like a neighborhood church that can be a soup kitchen, but they can also be civic organizations or policy organizations in these range ideologically from the NRA to ACLU to do, you name it and often times they speak about policy matters. This policy is good for these reasons, this policy is bad for those reasons. Now there are specific statutory exemptions that say when the news media speaks about issues they are exempt from campaign-finance restrictions that are exempt from what are called donor disclosure mandates. The same is not true from a small nonprofit might speak about the very same issue we are seeing increasingly at the state and local level and in some cases there's been federal legislation introduced as well. That's requiring private donors to these nonprofit organizations that speak on policy issues to report their names and address in their addresses to the government while the media is six or is is enjoying brought exemptions from those requirements. Why is that a problem well, there's really two reasons, there is the principal case and and then there's the practical case.

The principal cases that look when were talking about when were talking about public policy organizations. Their whole purpose is to communicate with the public. Their whole purpose is to collect information to analyze it and then disseminated the news media fills a functionally equivalent role there. Their purpose is to collect and disseminate information and affect going back to our history. One of the things that impressed de Tocqueville most about our democracy was robust associations that could get together and talk about issues that were important to them and when the law exempts one group or priest treats one group in this case the institutional press differently from a group that fills just as important of a role in a functionally equivalent role I that's a problem it's a problem from equal protection grounds. And that's just simply as a problem in our in our Republican government is of course what we see is more of these barriers that are put up the less communication we get the less free-speech we get there is also a practical problem. I know it's it's no surprise to you that the media is changing.

What differentiates a very popular Twitter feed or blog post from more traditional institutional press and at some point, as the Supreme Court is kind of made overtures can be hard to draw those lines so we should all recognize that the way people perceive information is changing and the law shouldn't treat those sorts of sources of information differently. That is the voice of John Rich as he is director of national litigation for the Goldwater Institute based in Arizona. Some people like Pearson say okay I could see treating all the groups the same. So how about no exemption for anyone and everyone has to tell us who they're up there donors are what why would that not be the right way to go. We want people to receive information as freely as possible to be able to communicate information as freely as possible so the media exemption that exists in these laws and it's a good thing right. We want a free press, we want to we want the ability of people to talk to one another. That exemption should be brought rather than restricted and it should be broadened to recognize that there's other organizations that fulfill just as important for overalls institutional press and it's really frankly it's a fundamental part of our republic to have these sorts of associations and they should be impeded by the law. If these groups that are playing a role in disseminating information about policy are forced to disclose their donors or if for some reason someone said well we should do this to the media as well get rid of their exemption. What sort of effect would this have on our public policy debates. I suspect that there might be some sort of chilling effect that for sure there's a few reasons for that. The most troubling is that what we've seen in some of the states that have enacted donor disclosure mandates is retaliation. We see donors to private organizations or causes lose their jobs be threatened.

This happened with prop eight in California tap and thread throughout the country. The number of controversial issues and as you say there's there's there's an additional chilling effect besides just the fear of retaliation mimic every American shall support the causes they believe in without having to worry about retaliation. Often times these laws are so complex. No one really knows what's prohibited and what's permissible and as a result fewer people speak.

We had a lawn out in Arizona where they defined a political committee in a 183 word run on sentence the judge ended up striking that down insane. Not even a campaign-finance lawyer could figure out what is and what isn't a political committee, subject to these owners campaign-finance restrictions and of course no one really understands what's allowed fewer people are bright and participate problem for all of us. Sounds like the judge might've been relying on the bad grammar present to hear something of that sort. When we have all of these organizations able to compete on a level playing field in terms of not having to disclose donors and having that the news be the traditional news media and the newer media or information sources treated the same house that going to benefit our society from your well people then know what the what the rules of the road are there clear and when we talk about the First Amendment. We talk about free speech that's the goal we have to aspire to people have to know this is can it be allowed. I am not going to be treated differently or unfairly, and when that happens we get more speech and we talk just more directly about why do those who support nonprofit organizations do so for a variety of reasons and often times they want to support those organizations privately.

Maybe they wanted many different religious reasons for giving privately may be there. I didn't want to be harassed by other other charitable organizations looking to see their their other donations and they'll solicit them for additional additional funds so we have a more robust civic society.

When we have fewer restraints placed on on speech and on private giving.

I imagine many of the people listening to us will agree, at least in principle, but some might be saying what about those people in the shadows. The big money interests who are helping to support these these causes shouldn't we know that these people are behind these various these various information sources will be response when someone says what about them to write my initial responses that we already do for the most part, and there is an enormous amount of reporting requirements when we talk about campaign-finance and here's an important distinction when we talk about contributions to political candidates. Those are all disclosed above, a very very low dollar amount to some supports or opposes anybody running for election we know who that is when were talking about nonprofit organizations.

That's an entirely different situation and the reason is is under federal law. 501(c)(3) nonprofits are prohibited from engaging in politics there. Pure issue advocacy groups right well it's very interesting topic and one person is going to be keeping on top of it is John Rich as he is director of national litigation for the Goldwater Institute Scharf Norton Center for cost as they came on Carolina journal radio interest. If you love freedom we got great news to share with you now. You can find the latest news, views, and research from conservative groups all across the state. All in one place North Carolina conservative.com one-stop shopping for North Carolina St. movement had North Carolina conservative.com. You'll find links to John Locke foundation blogs on the days news Carolina journal.com reporting and quick takes Carolina journal radio interviews TV interviews featuring CJ reporters and Locke foundation analyst plus opinion pieces and reports on higher education.

All of that from the Pope Center for higher education policy commentary and polling data from the Cintas Institute and news and views from the North Carolina family policy Council.

That's right, all of that, all in one place North Carolina conservative.com that's North Carolina spelled out conservative.com North Carolina conservative.com. Log on today.

North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John lock foundation and Carolina journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina. Journal follow us on Twitter at John lock in the sea and at Carolina journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else. Thanks to the experts at the John Locke foundation and thanks to the first-class investigative reporting of Carolina journal.

Don't wait for the morning newspaper wait for the evening news if it's happening now it's happening here the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal. Have you covered with up to the second information like us on Facebook the John Locke foundation and Carolina journal follow us on Twitter at John Locke in the sea and at Carolina journal did you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John Locke foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate as the work foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to us.

The John Locke foundation. So here's how it works lot on to smile.amazon.com Amazon smile. It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices is much better.

Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to the John lock foundation to try it. Be sure to designate the Locke foundation is a nonprofit, you want to support.

It's that easy. So now not only will you enjoy what you buy. You'll also support freedom. Don't forget log on to smile.amazon.com today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation will go back to Carolina journal radio language coca North Carolina lawmakers continue to look for a long-term alternative to the state gas tax. They heard ideas recently from John Lee. He's policy director for the American Association of State Highway transportation officials, otherwise known as ash, tow eight states were awarded the first tranche of the seed money to explore different ideas.

Lot of them looking at this idea of vehicle miles traveled fee as the successor to the fuel tax.

I would say probably the one that has gone the furnace on the vehicle miles traveled. Fee effort is the state of Oregon. They've actually been added now for more than a decade, starting out with Apollo program and now they do have this legislative enacted permanent program for up to 5000 drivers. California is also looking at a 10,000 person or driver pilot right now Washington state so that whole quarter out West is really far down the VMT route. Some states are looking at tolling of interstate highways.

Lee admits that's a controversial option.

He says there are other ideas, 54 state revenue sources have been identified that range far beyond this, you know, the fuel tax or the polling you're talking about oil company taxes are, land sales you're talking about even gambling revenue sometimes have been known to be used for transportation purposes. The states recognize their needs are how important the transportation investment needs are and are willing to consider a lot of different options and ideas to get there. Lee offered lawmakers some final advice. The key here when you cut it when it comes to the transportation revenue conversation is being able to make that value proposition to the public that are using the system every day. This is a great example. I think when you ask a typical person on the street interview, which we did a video a few years ago.

How much does a typical person typical driver pay and Gas-X, both federal and state per year basis. This guy very nice guy works at auto repair shop so six $7000 year others in the video set to $3000.

It comes out to about $300 per year. So when you look at it on a monthly basis. It's actually less than you know your cell phone your cable.

Your other types of utility bills and especially comparative cable. I would think that you'd be able to access or transportation infrastructure is pretty darn important and it's a great value proposition and so I think you know from the transportation industry. What we need to do a better job of is being able to communicate just the clarity of you know this is the value that we propose to you in exchange for the contributions that were asking you to provide. That's John Lee of the American Association of State Highway transportation officials is offering North Carolina lawmakers ideas about alternatives to the state gas tax will return with more Carolina journal radio and about really influence you either have it or you don't and at the John Locke foundation.

We do, and that's not bluster in a private survey of more than 250 North Carolina political insiders 87% said we influence them either a great deal or a good amount.

So while others talk and complain. We get to work providing research solutions and help our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day jobs, healthcare, education, and more. We look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control.

Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse that is the envy of every other state.

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Welcome back to Carolina journal radio.

I mixed coca North Carolina lawmakers recently heard an update on the nearly $1 billion, voters approved for new construction projects throughout the University of North Carolina system will Johnson is an associate vice president for the University troopers before we own construction pulse 27.

Walmart is worsening about a 4% increase in new opus roofing poles available (Marino overblown product of official calls for all 421 projects just short of $400 a square foot for all the school buildings rollerball project the boys will embroider renovations and new construction projects averages about $460 square foot.

A bill that was lawful throughout most of you*bold calls but the buildings that have inclusive research functions and intensive research will know just what labs not just bought Rosen calls were talking about cutting-edge research about HVAC systems will bristle through our records and provide negative pressure to those labs are pausing for a jury. Regardless separate spent the entire HVAC system within tolerance for square footage of support. Johnson compiled 20 minutes worth of data, but Democratic State Sen. Joel Ford of Mecklenburg County focused on one particular figure, bring you back to be your cost per square foot.

Have you been able to use that any variances as the reason why you got this search buried two calls in construction from these various universities processes. We are looking at the campuses of America's audit sure about those numbers all goes to total budget course across the board. What what would you still Was observed got rid of all square foot method and enforcer side wall plate sauce will you have comfortable square foot about what you do on this bill is remarkably different from each other schools. Nothing like a point sauce, bowling and and when the when the function of these builders is pulled legal look external culpable buildings. Source exposure point sauce going foot but with the seven right places around Concord with the barrel to Peter San Diego stated clears their social sauce, building a Chapel Hill camel boarding 2012. I believe look at what research that the academics are saying the coding to do about your product focus book to those buildings and and when you have greenhouse and bristle through laboratories of this research is taking you and Nancy started for this one: the average cost per square foot for almost $700,000,000,630 per foot But what little the book 620 so that each building has its own story of what the campuses would like to have within the ball dollars. It will respond to those Holders were most cases a lot worse than what campuses have a new father. We all responded some of the supporting because this is not the states respond program and I would've liked to have seen the steak and staff identify some consistencies as relates to call savings for construction goal for and understand the difference in cost of construction from one type of building from another, but a life science building is the state should not be different from a life science building that is again take both of those engineering buildings are quite frankly should have drywall over those buildings if they're made out of brick because Britt and my point is, how can the administration help the system gain leverage and at at a minimum and buying power right and so all these buildings are gonna have some form what is going to be a metal or wood studs.

I'm just looking to hear something different going forward in terms of how can the state save money by leveraging of $2 billion so that we can build the buildings that these universities want a bill save money by doing Ford wasn't the only one who mentioned the cost of the basic building material brick Republican state representative Gina Arp used bricks to make a larger point about building quality. How do we determine what your input for quality is been to address not just cutting the size of the building because we want you know the most that we can get. How do we determine what was done for my cost standpoint. A quality standpoint. Wesley quality I'm talking about. You can have Britt which you can have a $50 breaker a $10 brick that's best thing I'm talking about your different brick. Some people do use the reports of bricks and no ghostly for Paul to to what's USUALLY interstate has a standard range: virtually have a standard Colorado due to more that's what she stated that Cold War calls little bit more little scatterbrained for the discussion didn't end with expensive, specially colored bricks Republican state representative John.

The hardest are focused on the overall cost of new construction projects $460 were porches seems high to me of of working real estate worked in mostly residential or commercial can be more expensive if you're looking at retail, you're looking at commercial, residential construction, I think the most expensive projects are usually medical medical facilities so doing some research here I'm looking design cost data look at the website, look at the cost of medical centers.

The member, cardiology centers 316 a square foot, one 83 ft. cancer centers hundred 22 ft. to 20 square-foot minutes higher than most retail construction will be hardened. Most commercial medicals usually most expensive but these are most cases, private or many cases, nonprofit hospital clinics, but they gotta keep their costs down. They certainly have to be efficient and the services they provide. Republican State Sen. Joyce Kravitz also shared her concerns about new university construction projects that cost $460 per square foot. I'm just staggered the cost per square foot, and I somewhat agree with my colleague, Sen. Ford, Walmart, Food Lion, you know you bill one you know exactly what your cost is per square foot. There's a difference between what we want and what we need, just like your house, you can build a house at $100 a square foot. Or you can build one in $350 a square foot. I can't see that we need different structures at every single building.

I agree completely with Sen. Ford, we should be able to design a plan we should need to have 250 engineers for every project we should design a building with her to stand building engineering building.

Whatever it is that's necessary, but not necessarily what what the University wants there, there has to be a way to bring this cost down Johnson the University construction expert responded to the concerns we only turn people going forever will wall from the portable culture where people ruling is we want to lower we can certainly only flush you been listening to legislative pushback involving a recent report about new construction in the UNC system will return with more Carolina journal radio in a moment. Full color throughout every issue more visual storytelling. We've revamped Carolina journal to make it easier to read a new look and a new feel. But one thing hasn't changed and it never will. That is our commitment to truth and transparency in government, you can still count on Carolina journal for investigations into government spending revelations about boondoggles and vetting of corruption. No permission to shine the light on what North Carolina government and the bureaucrats who run it are doing in your name and with your money will never wane and because of that our reach and influence are growing through all of our distribution outlets we reach more than 1 million N. Carolinians every month so make sure you stay informed. Read the monthly print edition of Carolina journal. Then check in several times a day, Carolina journal.com that's where you'll find fresh stories, opinion pieces and updates on government politics and your money. Carolina journal. We hold government accountable to you. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio Donna Martinez in the last decade or so public charter schools have opened and any North Carolina communities that's due in part to the state legislature which is advanced Pro charter legislation and policies since Republicans were elected to legislative majorities in 2010, but the John Locke foundation's vice president for research and director of education studies is now cautioning the charter movement not to get complacent. Dr. Terry stoops joins me now to explain why Terry welcome back to the show. Thank you even actually written that you fear that the charter movement is much too comfortable for its own good house.

Well, it's grown significantly from 100 schools just around five years ago 273 schools with 100,000 students and hundreds of millions of dollars going to the charter school movement is very little representation of the North Carolina Gen. assembly and elsewhere, advocating on behalf of charter schools they been fortunate to have a Republican majority in the Gen. assembly that sympathizes with charter schools and is trying to do things to help them out.

But that might not always be the case. In fact, politics as we know can swing back and forth.

You can have one party in charge for a while then voters will elect another party to majority so looking forward, you are essentially saying look at. Be careful because if those who oppose the idea of a public charter school are elected in sufficient numbers they could roll things back. That's right, or they can at least put a pause on the growth that we have seen, they could say that, for example, reimpose a cap on the number of charter schools they can.

The number of students that existing charter schools can grow they can do many things that would slow the rapid growth of charter schools down enough to try to disrupt the mass of students that are now attending North Carolina charter schools, mostly because they're dissatisfied with the district schools and have options that they've never had before.

Because charter schools are locating in areas where they hadn't previously so we are seeing the growth of a charter school movement that was enabled by policies passed by Republicans that could easily be rolled back by say a Democratic majority in the Gen. assembly, Terry reminder sent about how many kids in North Carolina have chosen a public charter school will this year. The charter schools have exceeded 100,000 students for the first time in those artificial figures yet with the official numbers at the end of the school year, but initial numbers tell us that over 100,000 students are attending charter schools in the hundred and 73 charter schools to be specific. Now, not every county has a charter school, and there are some areas of the state that could use a few more charter schools to serve those communities. But the growth has been outstanding and the number of kids that are on the waiting list for to get into these charter schools is probably around 30,000 at this point, so there is an incredible pent-up demand for charter schools that were only now addressing charters have always have benefited from less regulation, less rules that they have to abide by in order to operate their schools. That's in exchange for more freedom. What are you concerned about time regulations and and that the traditional system might try to reel those schools back in under their control will absolutely and we have seen some regulatory creep of the last few years of at least the idea being presented in the charter schools need to do things like offer a subsidized school lunch or provide transportation. But I think that the one reform that I've been hearing over and over again that many of charter school opponents really want to see happen is for school boards to take over charter schools management of charter schools. So right now charter schools are managed by a private nonprofit board and the idea is to switch that governance model over to one where school boards, local school boards manage charter school operations. It would basically transform them into district schools, lights, they want really have much the economy that a charter school has now because the way it's governed that's an interesting point because they school board obviously based on its makeup has a certain approach to its its public policy. So what would be the difference if that were to happen between a traditional school in a public charter school. Well, I think that the one difference that we would see is the name of the school would be different. Probably have charter and the reason why that matters is because it is a selling point to parents when they see that it's a charter school. They want to go to it and this is the one thing that district schools have is a marketing problem. So this solves that problem by basically taking over the school, but the charter school movement I think is really in a poor position right now to beat back some of those potential regulations that might come in a sweeping election in 2018 that many analysts are predicting will occur.

Terry right here in North Carolina.

We are now seeing stories about Durham County public schools, and they have a new superintendent is Sam settling in and the superintendent has been quoted as saying that he's got to be looking at how to improve Durham County's traditional public schools because number of people have left the system and some of them going to public charter schools is not an indication of what we have often heard from supporters of charter to say look, not only will they be another option but they're going to provide a little bit of competition for the traditional classroom would only took 20 years for the district schools to recognize that yes charter schools are competition and they need to compete with the charter school. We have seen a number of districts higher superintendents that Elise understood the fact that parents do have a choice to go to a charter school that they are competition and that they need to compete with that charter school because they're losing their market share and more students they lose, the more money they lose so they know that there is a there's a problem that they need to address their and so we seen another wave of superintendents recognize that fact, some have chosen to work with charter schools and adoption charter school models. Others have noticed that they need to compete with charter schools and some just grumble. The fact that charter schools exist and wish on the on a falling star that they didn't Terry remind us of how enrollment works at a public charter school because again you will hear criticism that well. Charter schools that are doing well. They're doing well because they cherry pick students they get kids who are motivated to have parents who were involved in their lives. Absent work you just apply or do they select people. There is no cherry picking that goes on. If the number of applicant six exceeds the number of seats available, then they have to use a lottery they have to choose the students at random so they can cherry pick the students were decide to pick one student over another because of some demographic or other feature that the student has they have to select them randomly and this is an important point because they're always a quick accused charter schools always accused of cherry picking students of just taking the cream of the crop and leaving the rest for district schools when the reality is is a lot of charter schools in the state are serving low income, low performing children and they do so by selecting them via random method and not just picking and choosing who gets to go.

Lastly, Terry. Let's talk about achievement of public charter schools. There is research on this is fair to say it's mixed. It is mixed though charter schools according some research are only performing as well as district schools. There is other research that suggested her performing better than district schools.

But the argument is if even if they're only working as well as a district school parents still prefer them and they save money and that in and of itself is a reason why we need to continue to support the charter school movement. What's really interesting piece that Dr. Terry stoops has written you can find it@johnlocke.org Terry, thank you very much.

Thank you all the time we have for Carolina journal radio this week for listening on behalf of my cohost Michelle back. I'm Donna Martinez hope you'll join us again next week for more Carolina journal radio Carolina journal radio is a program of the John learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs like Carolina journal radio send email to development John Locke call 66 jail left info 166-553-4636 airline journal radio nation airline is all opinions expressed on this nearly mentioned about Michelle or other foundation. Many airline sponsors Carolina radio again


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