Lawmakers weigh options to reduce state commitment to retiree health benefits


Despite the fact that North Carolina already ranks near the bottom nationally in the generosity of its retiree health plan—better only than Georgia—Senate and House lawmakers met on Monday to mull over ways to address the plan’s looming unfunded liability, with some options including a reduction and even elimination of the state’s commitment [Continue Reading…]

Senate bill proposes ending DPI control of charter school oversight


Administration and oversight for public charter schools has been handled by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction for years — but Senator Jerry Tillman, a longtime supporter of charter schools, wants to change that. “DPI was never in love…with charter schools,” Sen. Tillman (R-Randolph) said in a Senate Education Committee hearing on Tuesday as [Continue Reading…]

Is North Carolina next in line for New Orleans-style takeovers of failing schools?


Around the country, states and cities are trying a new way to boost success rates at low-performing schools. New efforts labeled ‘recovery school districts,’ ‘achievement school districts,’ ‘turnaround schools,’ and the like are making their way into places that include Tennessee, Louisiana, and Arkansas, to name a few — efforts that allow states [Continue Reading…]

Former state Rep. Stephen LaRoque headed to prison


Stephen LaRoque will spend the next two years in a federal prison, punishment for stealing from the federally-funded non-profit he ran. LaRoque, 51, a former Republican state representative from Kinston was given the 24-month sentence Wednesday morning. He plead guilty earlier this year to a criminal charge related to the embezzlement of $300,000 [Continue Reading…]

Lessons learned on Voter ID


Last week’s abrupt turnabout in the General Assembly on Voter ID surprised lawmakers on both sides of the aisle as well as attorneys in the lawsuits set for trial this summer. The changes, which include provisions allowing voters lacking photo ID to cast a provisional ballot once they’ve signed a sworn statement indicating that [Continue Reading…]

Senate pushes to eliminate health retirement benefits for North Carolina’s teachers and state employees


Buried deep in the Senate budget proposal that lawmakers passed last week is a provision that would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees who are hired after January 1, 2016. “This puts the state at a major disadvantage in the recruitment and retention of state employees, teachers, and [Continue Reading…]

Senate budget ends health retirement benefits for future teachers and state employees


Editor’s note: This story is cross-posted from the Progressive Pulse, where it originally appeared. A few short lines in the 2015-17 Senate budget would eliminate state-paid health retirement benefits for teachers and state employees hired after January 1, 2016. “This will negatively impact the state’s ability to recruit good, qualified folks,” said Richard [Continue Reading…]