North Carolina General Assembly

Glenn Elementary parents Tamara and David Vanie address the crowd at a parent rally against the Innovative School District, which could bring a state takeover to their East Durham school.
Lisa Philip / WUNC

Update on Friday, October 13: Glenn Elementary is no longer being considered for state takeover through the North Carolina Innovative School District, according to Durham school board chairman Mike Lee. Southside Ashpole Elementary School in Robeson County is the only school that will be recommended for inclusion in the new district in the 2018-2019 school year, according to an announcement from the state Department of Public Instruction.

It’s a Monday night and Tamara Vanie, who’s nearly seven months pregnant, and her husband David, who just got off of work, are knocking on doors in a mostly black and Hispanic neighborhood in East Durham. They’re talking to anyone who will listen about the possible state takeover of their neighborhood elementary school.

Photo: A Massachusetts voting station sign
Katri Niemi / Flickr

State lawmakers are considering another voter ID bill that would be brought to voters as a constitutional amendment. In 2013 lawmakers passed a voter ID measure that was deemed unconstitutional last year by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals . 

NC Legislature
W Edward Callis III

State lawmakers are heading home until August. After reaching a state budget deal, lawmakers passed a flurry of bills this week and departed early this morning. House speaker Tim Moore told reporters the legislature will be "in and out for the rest of the year," which is uncommon, but not unprecedented.

A Republican bill could move the country a step forward towards changing the U.S. Constitution.
U.S. Air Force

A bill is moving through the North Carolina legislature that could push the country a step closer towards rewriting its founding document.

Rep. Chaz Beasely (D-Mecklenburg) is one of the co-chairs of the North Carolina Future Caucus, which include members up to age 47.
Jess Clark / WUNC

It's being called a political crisis: Partisanship is the worst it's been in decades. Now, a few North Carolina legislators think they might have a solution: Building a political coalition based on their shared youth. Charlotte Democratic Representative Chaz Beasley is 31 years old, and one of the chairs of the new North Carolina Future Caucus.

North Carolina State Legislature
Dave Crosby / Flickr

The state House passed its budget just after midnight last night. The House plan would cut taxes, fund pay increases for some teachers, and give an across-the-board $1,000 raise to state employees. It would also add $260 million  to the state's 'rainy day' fund.

Wake County bus driver Auh Murel Wright greets a student before the afternoon trip home. Wright is among many school-based employees who struggle to make ends meet on their current salaries.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Now that the state House has released its plan for teacher pay, there are three plans before lawmakers as they continue budget negotiations. Here are the basic differences:

North Carolina's newest Congressional districts are among those up for debate in Wake County Superior Court Monday and Tuesday.
NC Legislature / ncleg.net

The Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the North Carolina General Assembly violated the constitution by relying too heavily on race in drawing two congressional districts. The decision upholds a lower-court ruling that struck down maps drawn in 2011 by a Republican-led legislature.

State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey (center-right) listens while State Superintendent Mark Johnson gives his monthly address to the board.
Jess Clark / WUNC

In June, a panel of North Carolina judges will hear a case that pits Republican against Republican in a power struggle over who should steer the Department of Public Instruction.

State Superintendent of Public Schools Mark Johnson
NC Public Schools

State Superintendent Mark Johnson's first months leading North Carolina Public Schools has been marked by a legal battle over just how much power his office should have.

It's a lawsuit that pits Republican against Republican.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

The General Assembly has completed the override of the governor's veto of a measure reducing the state Court of Appeals from 15 judges to 12.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Updated 11:50 a.m., 4/28/2017

Thursday's crossover deadline came and went with a bang. Debate got heated when House Minority Leader Darren Jackson (D-Wake) objected to a final vote on House Bill 113. The measure allows for private citizens to take their local governments and police departments to court for failing to comply with immigration law enforcement.

It was clear Jackson believed Republicans violated a bi-partisan agreement on which bills would get a final vote just ahead of the deadline--Jackson said HB 113 was not one of them. Nonetheless, Jackson backed down when it was clear he was being outmaneuvered by the GOP leadership. The bill survived crossover and moved on to the Senate.

The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse seen from the light keepers house in Buxton. The lighthouse was put in service in 1870 and is the world's tallest brick lighthouse at 208 feet. Its beacon can be seen 20 miles out at sea.
Cliff Owen / Associated Press

North Carolina's school calendar law can be a nightmare for school systems to navigate. Take it from Anthony Jackson, Superintendent for Vance County Schools.

"It's very, very difficult. It's putting together a puzzle," Jackson said.

Cedar Fork Elementary in Wake County would have to add three more kindergarten classrooms under the class-size change scheduled to go into effect in the fall.
Jess Clark / WUNC

Public-school officials are panicking ahead of state-mandated class-size reductions in kindergarten through third grade. School systems say lawmakers gave them an unfunded mandate when they demanded schools cut K-3 class sizes starting next school year.

A bill to raise the age of juvenile jurisdiction from 16 to 18 has support in the state house.
Associated Press

First of two stories. Click here for the second.

When you turn 16 in North Carolina, you still can't vote, or drive on your own at night. You can't buy cigarettes or alcohol, or get a tattoo. But you can be charged, tried and convicted as an adult in the criminal justice system.

North Carolina legislative building
Wikimedia Commons

Legislators filed  dozens of bills on the first day back since session officially opened, including a proposal to develop a plan to change how the state funds public schools.

Teachers in North Carolina have seen pay raises
www.audio-luci-store.it / Flickr

In their budget compromise, lawmakers have allocated millions of dollars to give certain teachers bonuses for how well their students perform. Top third-grade reading teachers would earn thousands of dollars extra, and Advanced Placement teachers would receive $50 for each of their students who passes an AP or other advanced test.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) arrest.
Wikimedia Commons

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature.  

Republican lawmakers in the state Senate have passed a provision that would allow the state to withhold school and road funding from cities, towns and counties that don't comply with state immigration laws. The change would also prohibit local governments from issuing their own identification cards to people who are in the country without papers.

Lawmakers are considering a number of education changes.
Courtesy of Pixbay.com

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature. 

Changes to the charter school renewal process have cleared both the state House and Senate, and are on their way to the governor's desk.

NC Senate Passes Charter School Takeover Bill

Jun 24, 2016
Student, Classroom, school, class
Tom Woodward / Flickr Creative Commons

Editor's note: This story has been updated with the most recent action from the state Legislature. 

Lawmakers in the state Senate have passed a bill that would turn over five of the state's struggling elementary schools to charter school organizations.

The bill goes back to the House for an up-or-down vote.

A body camera on a North Charleston police officer.
Ryan Johnson / Creative Commons

Lawmakers in the North Carolina House have voted in favor of a bill that would keep police body camera video out of the public record. Under the provision, the footage wouldn't be personnel records either.

a nationwide collaboration between NPR’s Ed Team and 20 member station reporters exploring how states pay for their public schools and why many are failing to meet the needs of their most vulnerable students.
Leigh Ann Cross

A provision in the Senate's budget proposal would force some year-round schools to change their calendars within the next couple months.

A sign indicates food stamps are accepted.
Paul Sableman / Creative Commons

The North Carolina House is considering a bill that would increase disqualification periods for food stamp recipients who don't meet their work requirements. Able-bodied adults without children have to work or train for 20 hours a week in order to qualify for food stamps.

Teacher, school, hallway
Jess Clark / WUNC

Lawmakers in the state House have renewed efforts to direct more money from school districts to charter schools.

Fayetteville math teacher Kenneth Williams creates a life-sized right triangle in his classroom.
Jess Clark

Lawmakers in the state Senate plan to vote Thursday on a bill that would let students opt out of the integrated high school math sequence, and take a more traditional math sequence instead.

Middle school student Jojo works on a math assignment at Concord Middle.
Reema Khrais / WUNC

Lawmakers in a House committee on education spending released their budget proposal Thursday, and it includes several policy changes. One of those is  an adjustment to the A-F school grading system.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

A federal district court judge upheld North Carolina's voter identification measures in a 485 page decision issued yesterday.

The Durham County Board of Education passed a resolution demanding the legislature repeal the A-F grading system.
Jess Clark

UPDATED Dec. 4, 2015

Friday was the deadline for schools and districts labeled low-performing to submit their improvement plans. State law has designated 581 schools as low-performing based on student test scores. But some districts are speaking out against the A-F school grading system and lawmakers’ moves to toughen it.

Flickr via Cynthia Ahrens / Flickr

Lawmakers pushed a bill through the Senate that would divert more money from school districts to charter schools.

Under current law, school districts have pots of funding they don’t have to share with charter schools. These pots include supplemental property tax revenues, as well as federal funding for providing school lunches and transportation, which most charters don’t provide.

NC General Assembly; State Legislature.
Dave Crosby / Flickr Share-Alike

The North Carolina Senate gave preliminary approval on Wednesday afternoon to a two-year budget that would cut funding for thousands of public school teaching assistant positions, and would make significant policy changes to the state's tax code and Medicaid program.

The proposed $21.5 billion budget, which represents an almost 2 percent increase from the current year and was approved by Republicans along a party-line vote of 30-19, is scheduled for a final vote on Thursday.

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