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...]

N.C. Department of Public Instruction forced to eliminate more than 50 jobs that serve struggling schools, technology infrastructure


The agency tasked with implementing the state’s K-12 public school laws and policies is coping with a 10 percent funding cut handed down by lawmakers last week by eliminating more than 50 jobs, many of which are devoted to helping struggling schools. “We’re abolishing approximately 54 positions out of roughly 450 state-funded staff [Continue Reading...]

State lawmakers’ education plan comes up short for veteran teachers, cuts critical areas of support for the classroom


Last week, lawmakers passed a state budget that they promised would offer teachers an average 7 percent raise—but instead of boosting all teachers’ pay by a simple percentage, a new salary schedule is in place that offers younger, inexperienced teachers big gains while shortchanging veteran teachers who have gone to great lengths to [Continue Reading...]

Less transparency, fewer protections hallmarks of latest charter school legislation


As lawmakers draw closer to finalizing a state budget that has drawn the most attention for how it may boost teacher pay and cut Medicaid, another battle is taking place at the legislature, too—over lowering standards for North Carolina’s growing number of charter schools. Following several years of significant changes lawmakers have enacted [Continue Reading...]