Tuesday, June 05, 2012, 12:00 AM

Today at the Court of Appeals (6/5/12)

Today, a panel of the North Carolina Court of Appeals comprised of Chief Judge John C. Martin and Judges Rick Elmore and Robert N. Hunter, Jr. will hear oral argument in the latest chapter of the on going saga regarding the General Assembly's ability to modify funding for education programs for at-risk children.

In Hoke County Board of Education v. State of North Carolina, the Court of Appeals will review whether the General Assembly's 2011 Budget Bill, which became law after the General Assembly overrode Governor Perdue's veto, complies with the North Carolina Supreme Court's prior holding that the North Carolina Constitution guarantees every child of the state the opportunity to recieve a sound basic education.  The primary controversy is over the provision of the Budget Bill that provides that the Division of Child Development will provide services to at-risk children regardless of income, but limits the total number of at risk children to no more than 20% of the four-year-olds served within the prekindergarten program. 

Superior Court Judge Howard E. Manning, Jr. ordered that the State “shall provide” pre-kindergarten services “to any eligible at-risk four year old that applies;” that the State “shall not implement or enforce that portion of the 2011 Budget Bill, section 10.7(f), that limits, restricts, bars or otherwise interferes, in any manner, with the admission of all eligible at-risk four year olds that apply to the prekindergarten program;” and that the State “shall not implement, apply or enforce any other artificial rule, barrier, or regulation to deny any eligible at-risk four year old admission to the prekindergarten program.”  The State challenges this ruling on the grounds that Judge Manning's order was incorrect as a matter of law and that it was not supported by the evidence.

The Record on Appeal and Briefs can be found here.


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