Roy Cooper vetoes bill tweaking NC charter school oversight

By Carolina Journal Staff

Raleigh, NC – Gov. Roy Cooper’s latest veto targets a bill that would have tweaked oversight of public charter schools in North Carolina. Cooper’s rejection of House Bill 729 marks his fifth veto this year and 58th veto since he took office in 2017.

The governor specifically rejected a piece of H.B. 729 that would have changed the appointment process to the state Charter School Advisory Board. The bill would have given State Superintendent of Public Instruction Catherine Truitt a vote on the 11-member board. Her vote would have replaced one of two appointees from the State Board of Education. The governor appoints SBOE members.

“The State Board of Education is constitutionally and statutorily charged with administering children’s education in state public schools, including charter schools,” Cooper wrote in his official veto message. “It is critical that the Board have both of their appointments to the Charter School Advisory Board to carry out its constitutional duties.”

Cooper is a Democrat. Truitt is a Republican. As state superintendent, current law gives Truitt or her designee a nonvoting role as the advisory board’s secretary.

H.B. 729 moved through the General Assembly with bipartisan support. Senators approved the measure, 37-4, while the House’s 72-42 vote to approve the bill included seven Democratic “yes” votes. Both of those voting margins exceeded the three-fifths majority required to override a gubernatorial veto.

But state lawmakers have not overcome a veto from Cooper since December 2018.  Cooper has issued 30 vetoes since 2019, after Republicans lost veto-proof supermajority control of the state House and Senate in the 2018 elections. So far, the General Assembly has not challenged successfully any vetoes from the past three years.

Though Cooper singled out the piece of H.B. 729 dealing with charter school oversight, his veto blocks another charter school change. The legislation also would have permitted charter school teachers to receive residency licensure. That’s a type of licensure that has been reserved for teachers hired by local school boards.