New economic development group starts up, but private donors’ identities still unknown

Commerce privatization

North Carolina handed off its job recruitment efforts to a newly established public-private partnership last week, in hopes that privatizing much of the state’s economic development work will bring more jobs to the state. Just a week into operation, the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina is already struggling with questions about transparency [Continue Reading...]

Read your ballot


Important judicial races, proposed constitutional amendment fly under the radar By the time voters get to the polls this year, they’ll have heard plenty about Sen. Kay Hagan and her challenger House Speaker Thom Tillis. And they’ll likely know a little about or at least recognize the names of their state and federal [Continue Reading...]

Biggest recipient of taxpayer-funded school vouchers, Greensboro Islamic Academy, in financial trouble


State received 170 applications from students wishing to attend GIA this fall with vouchers A private religious school receiving by far the largest payout from the state’s new school voucher program was in financial trouble during the last school year, pleading for help from the public online to fund its $150,000 shortfall so the school [Continue Reading...]

How accessible should conflict-of-interest forms be? N.C. Ethics Commission to decide


North Carolina’s ethics commission pulled the plug this summer on an online database of public officials’ financial disclosure forms as it wrestles with questions about what information should be accessible with a click of a computer mouse. The commission, established in 2006 after the state saw a series of public corruption scandals, decided [Continue Reading...]

NC Common Core review commission holds first meeting, elects supporter of standards as its co-chair

Andre Peek and Jeannie Metcalf co-chair the Academic Standards Review Commission.

A North Carolina commission tasked with reviewing and replacing the Common Core State Standards met for the first time on Monday to determine first steps and elect two co-chairs, one being McCrory-appointed IBM executive Andre Peek, who declared himself a supporter of Common Core after the meeting. “I am a supporter of Common Core, and [Continue Reading...]

Battle over hog farm pollution escalates as groups accuse state of environmental racism

Photo courtesy of USDA NRCS.

For years now, complaints about the stench and pollution seeping from the state’s factory hog farms have lingered. In the courts and in the press, residents living with the mess and their advocates have traded barbs with industry and local leaders about failed oversight and influence in the legislature. But now environmental groups have stepped [Continue Reading...]

Teachers reflect on pay increase, budget cuts as they begin a new school year


As teachers at Randleman Elementary School bid farewell to summer, readying their classrooms with supplies and materials that many bought with their own hard-earned cash, Principal Laurie Sypole cited one thing that she couldn’t find among the desks they tidied and the pay stubs they filed away. The missing puzzle piece? The lawmakers who were [Continue Reading...]

NC school vouchers ruled unconstitutional


In a stunning rebuke to state lawmakers’ efforts to bring school vouchers to North Carolina, state Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood today found the recently-enacted “Opportunity Scholarship Program” unconstitutional and permanently enjoined disbursement of state funds for that purpose. “The General Assembly fails the children of North Carolina when they are sent with [Continue Reading...]

Schools lose teacher assistant funding in legislative wrangling over economic development bill


In an apparent surprise to GOP leaders, rank and file members of the House voted down an economic development bill Tuesday that because of unusual legislative maneuvering needed to pass to pave the way a bill that would have allowed local school districts to save more teacher assistants’ jobs. “The teacher assistant fix [Continue Reading...]