Archives by: Billy Ball

Billy Ball

About the author

Billy Ball, Education Reporter, joined N.C. Policy Watch in January 2016. He covers public education at the N.C. General Assembly and the State Board of Education. Before joining the project, Billy was a staff writer and investigative reporter for the Independent Weekly for more than three years, covering education, the environment, politics and the criminal justice system. Before that, Billy served as a general assignment reporter for the Sanford Herald and the Monroe Enquirer-Journal.

billy@ncpolicywatch.com

919-861-1460


Billy Ball's articles and posts

Education Top Story

Delayed action by state Superintendent creates big hurdles for legislature’s mandated audit

When Joni Robbins, a section chief in the N.C. Department of Public Instruction, closes bidding next week for an upcoming audit of the state’s top K-12 agency, state leaders will have a little more than four months to find a vendor and begin work on a weighty review of the department’s operations.

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Education Top Story

Mark Johnson accused of misleading the public regarding literacy program spending

North Carolina’s former public school superintendent June Atkinson says the state’s new K-12 leader “misled” the public when he blasted the Department of Public Instruction last month over $15 million in unspent Read to Achieve dollars.

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Education Top Story

Two decades later, Governor’s appointees look to breathe life into NC’s landmark school funding ruling

“By every objective measure, we are underfunded and we are failing.”

That’s how Larry Armstrong, longtime attorney for the Halifax County Board of Education, summed up the task before Gov. Roy Cooper’s Commission on Access to Sound, Basic Education Thursday—more than two decades after the pivotal Leandro Supreme Court decision rebuked the state for school funding inequalities in some of North Carolina’s poorest counties like Halifax.

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Education Top Story

Robeson County officials vacillating on planned charter school takeover

Weeks after the top school board member in Robeson County predicted the southeastern North Carolina district would close the state’s only choice for a controversial charter takeover program, local leaders may be gearing up to accept the Innovative School District after all.

Multiple Robeson officials tell Policy Watch that state law...

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Education Top Story

Legislators consider abolishing teacher salary schedule as they study NC school funding labyrinth

A pivotal legislative task force may be just beginning its dive into North Carolina’s school funding maze, but lawmakers’ hints that they may abolish the state’s teacher salary schedule or other state-set funding allocations is already spurring criticism from local district advocates.

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Education Top Story

Here to stay? Despite poor scores, critics, for-profit virtual charter school seeks blessing from state officials

The head of a controversial virtual charter school wants North Carolina lawmakers to funnel more cash into the program and clear operations beyond the 2019 sunset of its four-year pilot program, despite lagging test scores and a host of concerns about similar programs nationwide. “There are hundreds and thousands of kids and teachers that will benefit from our model,” Nathan Currie, superintendent at N.C. Connections Academy, told a committee of influential state lawmakers Tuesday, one day after making a similar pitch to a state charter school oversight panel.

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Education Top Story

Legislators begin “heavy lift” of examining funding structure of North Carolina schools

Craig Horn knows many education advocates want the school finance task force he co-chairs to weigh whether North Carolina spends enough on its public schools.

But the Union County Republican, an influential K-12 budget writer, wasted little time in reaffirming Wednesday that he considers the state’s spending levels to be...

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Education Top Story

Missing elephant in the room? State lawmakers to examine education finance without considering overall funding sufficiency

When state lawmakers meet next week to begin the weighty task of reforming North Carolina’s knotty method of financing public schools, the sufficiency of the state’s K-12 funding will not be on the table. Rep. Craig Horn, an influential Union County Republican who co-chairs a pivotal joint legislative task force on education finance reform, told Policy Watch Tuesday that he considers adequacy to be an altogether “separate issue.”

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Education Top Story

Facing charter takeover, Robeson County leaders tell state to stay out

Just days after a North Carolina official tapped a Robeson County elementary for a controversial charter takeover district, local leaders say the state isn’t welcome in Southside-Ashpole Elementary.

“The governor of North Carolina and the legislators cannot justify that, as far as I’m concerned,” Jerry Stephens, a Robeson County commissioner, told Policy Watch Tuesday. “It’ll be such a great fall-out.”

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Education Top Story

Documents point to potential conflict of interest in state charter takeover plan

Two groups seeking state contracts to run struggling North Carolina schools have professional ties to the man who may ultimately steer the decision to hire them, N.C. Policy Watch has learned. According to documents obtained by Policy Watch, AMIKids Inc. and Communities in Schools (CIS) of Robeson County are two of...

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