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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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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

UNC Board of Trustees face growing pressure to remove Silent Sam

The controversy over “Silent Sam,” the Confederate monument on UNC’s Chapel Hill campus, has been raging for decades. But it appears to be approaching a critical mass this year as students, faculty, staff and community members push for removal of the statue in the wake of deadly white supremacist violence at the University of Virginia.

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Environment Top Story

Using biogas to clear the air near hog farms

North Carolina tries to mine its swine and deal with a poop problem that keeps piling up

A blanket of gray hangs over the hills refracting the late July sun and sealing in a thick scent of gas and compost.

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Environment Top Story

Neutering nuisance laws in North Carolina

This story is part of "Peak Pig," an examination of the hog industry co-published with Environmental Health News. Tomorrow Elizabeth Ouzts reports on the possibilities of swine waste-to-energy projects.

Big hog producing states are chipping away at the last legal resorts for residents who feel they've been wronged ...
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Law and the Courts Top Story

Updated maps: Where judges land in judicial redistricting bill to be considered by Senate

Few issues in the North Carolina’s contentious policy wars have been more consistently front and center during the past year than the future of the state judiciary.

The battle was first joined during a series of special legislative sessions that were called after the 2016 election and has continued...

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Environment Top Story

A DEQ mystery: Where in the world is Donald van der Vaart?

Donald van der Vaart and John Evans, formerly the top two officials at the NC Department of Environmental Quality under Gov. Pat McCrory, have been absent from their offices, and their job status is uncertain, sources have told Policy Watch.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

Merit selection still cloaked in secrecy as Senate committee takes on ‘judicial reform’

Several North Carolina Senate members have discussed details about what a potential merit selection plan for judges would look like, but few if any have seen anything concrete.

NC Policy Watch obtained copies of proposals that indicate there are at least two merit selection plans drafted to replace Article IV, Section 16 of the North Carolina Constitution. Whether either of those plans will be presented to the public remains to be seen.

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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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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

At UNC, badly divided Board of Governors struggles to find common ground on some basic issues

At last week’s meeting of the full UNC Board of Governors, the seeds of the contentious board’s next major conflict began to sprout.

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Environment Top Story

An epic hearing over a proposed granite mine leads to a pivotal vote by Guilford County Commissioners

Kevin Cornell reached into a box and hoisted a rock the size of a toddler's head and placed it on the podium. "There was an explosion and a shockwave and rocks rained down," explained Cornell, who lives across the road from a Martin Marietta quarry.

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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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Environment Top Story

Proposed state animal waste rules draw scrutiny, concern

In the world of state environmental law, there is high-profile legislation whose hubbub, sometimes worthy of Shakespeare, is broadcast at the General Assembly. And there are lesser-known rules – think of them as off-off-Broadway plays – that are debated at sparsely attended public hearings beyond the view of a camera. Yet these rules often have the power to damage or improve the quality of life for thousands, if not millions, of North Carolinians.

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Law and the Courts Top Story

The untouchables: Legislation targeting judiciary, judges excludes business court

When GOP lawmakers began to dismantle and politicize the judiciary this year, North Carolina's business community and an insulated business court chose to remain silent.

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Policy Watch Investigates Top Story

Despite criticism, UNC Board of Governors moving ahead with campus “free speech” policy

When the UNC Board of Governors holds its full board meeting this week, it will take up several controversial questions and proposals on which its task forces and subcommittees have been working for months.

One of the most controversial—the creation of a system-wide campus “free speech” policy—has met skepticism and resistance.

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Environment Top Story

Awash in pollution: Restoring North Carolina’s sick rivers to health will require a major policy about-face

The Progressive Pulse blog has additional coverage of yesterday’s meeting of the House Select Committee on River Quality. Like most people who grow up on the water, Kemp Burdette is different from his landlocked friends. Undeterred by dampness, ...
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