UNC Fraud Report Released

Task Force Considers NC Teacher Pay Incentives, Rep Meyer In Attendence

State House 50 Representative Graig Meyer said that teacher morale in our local school districts and across North Carolina is currently the lowest he has experienced during his career in public education. Teachers in the state have gone six years without a real pay raise, in addition to other setbacks.

“While the General Assembly talks about recruiting and retaining teachers, they have to remember there is a third ‘R.’ That is respecting teachers,” said Meyer, who is also the Director of Student Equity and Volunteer Services for Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

He was appointed to the House 50 seat in October of last year. However, the General Assembly doesn’t reconvene for the short session until May 14, and the 2014 Primary is May 6, so he is currently on the campaign trail.

Meyer said that education is his most important platform issue.

Tuesday morning, he attended a teacher pay task force meeting at the General Assembly in Raleigh.

The major take-away from the discussion, Meyer explained, was that lawmakers are considering alternative teacher pay models that could be coupled with strong student performance in the classroom. He said that in theory it is a good idea, but state leaders have not devised a clear system to offer incentives state-wide.

Governor Pat McCrory announced a plan earlier this month to increase starting teachers’ salaries nearly 14 percent in the next two years, but no immediate increase was mentioned for teaching professionals already into their careers.

“We have heard the proposal that they would like to raise the pay for starting teachers so that every teacher in the state would make a minimum of $35,000, which is a step in the right direction,” Meyer said. “Unfortunately, we heard again this morning that they are not planning to give teachers an across-the-board raise.”

Meyer explained that the proposal states that new teachers’ pay would be fixed at the starting salary for approximately the first ten years of their career and that instructors with more than nine years of experience would not get a pay raise unless policies are changed.

North Carolina’s teachers are among the lowest-paid in the country, ranking 46th , and make less than  instructors in each of the surrounding states. The beginning salary for a teacher in North Carolina with less than six years of experience is $30,800 for the 2013-2014 school year, according to the NC Department of Public Instruction.

Going into their sixth year, teachers currently get $420 added to the base salary. Meyer added that CHCCS and Durham Public Schools add salary supplements separate from the state.

Stagnant salaries are just one of the many issues that educators have said threaten the education system in North Carolina. In 2013, state lawmakers eliminated salary bonuses for teachers with advanced degrees and also nixed teacher tenure.

“I want to start to change the narrative about public education and remind people that North Carolina has always relied on its public education system to create opportunities for the next generation of North Carolinians. We need strong public schools  in the state. This means we have to value the people who work in those schools with compensations, and valuing their time and expertise.”

Tuesday morning was only the first meeting of Educator Effectiveness and Compensation Task Force. Legislators authorized the panel to make recommendations by mid-April, according to the Associated Press.

http://chapelboro.com/news/pre-k-12-education/task-force-considers-nc-teacher-pay-incentives-rep-meyers-attendence/

New House Rep. Meyer To Be Sworn In Thursday

CHAPEL HILL – Newly-appointed State House Representative Graig Meyer will take his oath of office Thursday, and State Senator Valerie Foushee, the last to hold the position, will swear him in.

Meyer takes Foushee’s place representing House District 50, which covers most of rural Orange and Northern Durham counties. He was appointed by a committee of Democratic Party officials in October.

Foushee herself went through a similar process when she was appointed in September to fill the N.C Senate District 23 seat left vacant by the resignation of Ellie Kinnaird.

Meyer’s swearing-in ceremony will take place Thursday at 6:30 at the historic courthouse in Hillsborough. WCHL’s Rachel Nash will be there to speak with Meyer. You can tune into the Friday Morning News for a full recap.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/new-house-rep-meyer-to-be-sworn-in-thursday/

OC Resident, Marcoplos, To Seek BoCC, Not House 50

CHAPEL HILL – Orange County resident Mark Marcoplos says he will not seek to represent you in the North Carolina House of Representatives District 50 seat despite a campaign by locals to get him to seek the post.

*We previously reported that Marcoplos was a Chapel Hill resident, but he is actually a resident of Bingham Township west of Chapel Hill and Carrboro.

“I thought about it and realized that really my heart was with the local community in Orange County and the issues that we face here,” Marcoplos says.

Marcoplos says he will run for the next open seat on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. He made that announcement official on Facebook just before speaking with Ron Stutts on the WCHL Morning News Thursday.

***Listen to the Interview***

 

***Marcoplos’ Comment on Facebook- Click to Enlarge*** 

marc marcoplos to seek BoCC

He says the thought of working in Raleigh wasn’t always out of the question.

“I started to get intrigued with the idea of serving in Raleigh and sort of doing battle over there, because that place over there is just not like they told us in civics class,” Marcoplos says.

He says he wants so see someone go to Raleigh and work as a true activist for the people of Orange and Durham counties.

Marcoplos says the push to get him in the House—affectionately known as the ‘Draft Marcoplos’ campaign—was started by a few local officials, including Carrboro Mayor Mark Chilton and Orange County Commissioner Mark Dorosin, among others.

He says he is the right fit for Board of Commissioners for his time as a community activist.

“…defending my community against landfill (sites), airport (sites),” Marcoplos says.

He says his time serving on municipal board makes him a strong candidate as well.

“…the economic development commission, the Orange County Planning Board, and I’ve spent over eight years on the OWASA board and two years as the chair, so I know what it’s like to craft policy with colleagues,” Marcoplos says. “I know what it’s like to actively lobby for other government bodies to consider.”

An opening on the Board is a possibility before its regular elections in 2014. Commissioner Bernadette Pelissier announced she is seeking the House 50 seat.

However, four other Orange County residents have announced they have applied for the seat: Laurin Easthom, Tommy McNeill, Graig Meyer, and Drew Nelson. A four-member committee will nominate the person to fill the House 50 seat on October 24.

http://chapelboro.com/news/local-government/ch-resident-marcoplos-to-seek-bocc-not-house-50/

Foushee To Be Sworn In Wednesday

CHAPEL HILL – Your new senator will take her seat Wednesday.

Judge Beverly Scarlett will swear in Valerie Foushee to the North Carolina Senate District 23 seat at 2:00 p.m. at the Chatham Courthouse. Foushee will hand deliver her letter of resignation from the House Wednesday, and the resignation will take effect at noon.

The appointment officially sets in motion the replacement process for the House District 50 seat. Five Orange County residents have announced their interest in filling the position that represents parts of Orange and Durham counties.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/foushee-to-be-sworn-in-wednesday/

Nelson To Focus On Education If Appointed To House

CHAPEL HILL – Education is at the forefront of attorney Drew Nelson’s focus as he seeks appointment to the State House District 50 seat.

Nelson is the father of the three-year-old girl and says he constantly thinks of what the legislature is doing to the education system and wants to change it.

***Listen to the Full Interview***

“Teacher salaries in North Carolina have dropped faster than in any other state,” Nelson says. “We are almost dead last in what we pay our teachers. In terms of real dollars, we’re stripping money out of our schools; we’re giving it to voucher programs, we’re taking away masters pay. The Republican party has basically done everything it can to, kind of, make things touch for our public schools.”

Nelson is a native of Eastern North Carolina, a graduate of UNC’s law school, and received his Masters from Duke’s Terry Sanford School of Public Policy. After completing his education, Drew and his wife, Jennifer moved to Durham County. WCHL previously reported that the Nelsons are still residents of Durham County, but they are in fact residents of Chapel Hill in Orange County.

Nelson served as in-house council at N.C. State and is now a partner at Willis and Nelson, PLLC in Raleigh serving people in the appellate court.

Nelson did some work on former Representative Joe Hackney’s staff working with students to become involved in environmental issues on a presidential campaign.

Nelson says his career has readied him for this position.

“I seek out creative ways to try to help my clients,” Nelson says. “I can be touch when I need to be touch; I can be compromising when we need to be compromising. But, at the end of the day, I try to find positive, creative ways to get to a solution.”

Those interested in the House 50 seat are intending to replace Rep. Foushee who was chosen to fill the Senate District 23 seat, formerly held by Ellie Kinnaird.

This week, Rep. Foushee will reportedly resign from the House; she will then be sworn into the Senate. The selection committee needs to be filled as it is now one person short. Chapel Hill’s Graig Meyer resigned his seat on the committee to seek the appointment. Once the committee is filled, a date will be set to choose who will take the seat in the House.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/nelson-to-focus-on-education-if-appointed-to-house/

Comm. Pelissier Intends To “Step Up” To N.C. House

ORANGE COUNTY – One of your Orange County Commissioners says it’s time to ‘Step Up or Give Up’, and she wants to step up to the North Carolina House of Representatives.

Bernadette Pelissier has served on the Board of Commissioners since December 2008. Sunday she announced she will seek the appointment to the House seat representing District 50.

Pelissier joined Ron Stutts on the WCHL Monday Morning News to express her intention to seek the House 50 seat.

***Listen to the Interview***

Pelissier said in a press release that “we can either Step Up of Give Up”. She referred to education as one of her main points of focus saying she intends to help provide access to quality education for all. She also said strong business growth in the state netting many new jobs, and a transparent government are at the heart of her plans.

Pelissier is the daughter of French parents and was born in Senegal, Africa. However, she moved to the United States when she was young and spent most of her early years in New Jersey. She returned overseas when she was a teenager as her father worked for the United Nations in Damascus, Syria.

Pelissier’s time in Orange County began in 1975 when she attended UNC. She received her Ph. D. in Sociology in 1980. Her work outside politics includes Director of Research and Evaluation for the Durham County Community Mental Health Center in the early ‘80s. She was also the Chief of Research at the Federal Correctional Institution in Butner where she retired in 2006.

Other than her most recent election to the Board of Commissioners where she served as chair, Pelissier has served on the Orange County Planning Board, the Commission for the Environment, the Special Transit Advisory Committee, she was the chair of the Orange Chatham Sierra Club two times, chair of the Orange Water and Sewer Authority (OWASA), and chair of the Partnership to End Homelessness, among other boards and commissions.

Pelissier joins four other people who have announced their intention to seek the House 50 seat: Orange County’s Laurin Easthom, Tommy McNeill, Graig Meyer, and Durham County’s Drew Nelson.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/commissioner-pelissier-intends-to-step-up-to-n-c-house/

Durham Resident Seeks House Dist. 50 Seat

DURHAM COUNTY – Attorney Drew Nelson is the fourth person—the first from Durham County—to announce his intention to seek the State House District 50 seat replacing Representative Valerie Foushee.

***Correction: Nelson is a resident of Chapel Hill in Orange County.

Nelson made the announcement in a press release Wednesday evening which also announced his website. He is the first in the Senate and House appointment processes to create a website for the purpose of getting his name out.

The process of appointment will depend on the votes of four people—two from Orange County and two from Durham County—with Orange carrying the weighted majority.

Nelson is a native of Eastern North Carolina, a graduate of UNC’s law school, and received his Masters from Duke’s Terry Sanford School of Public Policy. After completing his education, Drew and his wife, Jennifer moved to Durham County.

Nelson served as in-house council at N.C.State and is now a partner at Willis and Nelson, PLLC in Raleigh serving people in the appellate court.

Nelson did some work on former Representative Joe Hackney’s staff working with students to become involved in environmental issues on a presidential campaign.

On his website, he says his “background in advocacy and policy gives him the tools to be a strong voice for Orange and Durham counties, as well as for families across North Carolina.”

Those interested in the House 50 seat are intending to replace Rep. Foushee who was chosen to fill the Senate District 23 seat, formerly held by Ellie Kinnaird.

Next week, Rep. Foushee will reportedly resign from the House; she will then be sworn into the Senate. The selection committee needs to be filled as it is now one person short. Chapel Hill’s Graig Meyer resigned his seat on the committee to seek the appointment. Once the committee is filled, a date will be set to choose who will take the seat in the House.

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/durham-resident-seeks-house-dist-50-seat/

Easthom Announces Intention To Seek House Seat 50

CHAPEL HILL – Laurin Easthom is the second person to announce her intention to seek the North Carolina House seat in District 50, formerly held by Valerie Foushee.

Easthom is currently a member of the Chapel Hill Town Council but previously announced she would not seek reelection.  She says that she will apply the same commitment to the House that she did in the Town Council.

“It is a broader geographic distance that I will be representing, but I am committed to going out and getting to know those folks that I don’t know, in addition to helping those I already know,” Easthom says. “That’s all part of the job.”

So far Laurin Easthom and Tommy McNeill are the only people to announce an intention to seek the Dist. 50 House seat.

WCHL’s Ran Northam spoke with Easthom about her intention to seek the House seat.

Part 1

Part 2

http://chapelboro.com/news/state-government/laurin-easthom-announces-intention-to-seek-house-seat-50/