General Assembly Weekend Check-In

Three major, and controversial, decisions have been made in the North Carolina General Assembly this past weekend: the Senate’s new spending plan, teacher pay raises, and the fracking bill.

The Senate has decided upon a new $21.1 billion spending plan for 2014-15 this weekend. Democrats were displeased with how quickly the decision was made, as it allowed for minimal negotiation. They seemed to be in consensus that the Senate was only interested in hearing their own approval, rather than the perspectives of the general public.

As part of this new budget plan, legislators also desire to encourage teachers to give up their tenure in exchange for an 11% raise in pay. Teachers, in response, are disagreeing with the motion as they desire more protection from unfriendly politics that surround schools presently. These raises are also planned to be gathered from cuts that would come from public school spending.

Other states are allegedly not attempting this swap of pay raise for tenure. Democrats agree that this action is not for the benefit of the teacher’s, but more of a cover-up for legislators’ inability to manage money wisely.

The fracking bill, completely supported by the House Republicans, is now on its way to be signed by Gov. Pat McCrory, who is more than ready to help get it passed. While Democrats were clearly unhappy with the bill, they failed to halt the process. Instead, they were able to add a few minor alterations to the bill as compromise before being sent to Gov. McCrory.

Many North Carolinians fear what the fracking might mean for chemicals that could get into well water, as well as how the Senate now seems to have the ability to override local governments in relation to how the fracking will be carried out.

As of now, there seems to be a great deal of controversy with each major decision processed by the General Assembly of North Carolina this past weekend. The uncertainty regarding the decided amount of the budget has some questioning how things are going to get better now. The risky move of raising teachers’ salaries whilst eliminating assistants and tenure is causing a rift of displeasure from educators of North Carolina, and unfavorable fracking plans that may affect local businesses in a way that they are unwilling to comply with the Senate’s decision.

Chapel Hill-Carrboro Teaching Chair Awards

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation has announced this year’s winners of the 2014 Teaching Chair Awards. These awards represent the Public School Foundation’s way of acknowledging the impact these educators have had on the community and the students they teach. The teachers were selected to be awarded by a committee of parents, students, administrators, teachers, and Foundation Board members and selected the top candidate for each one.

Ashley Lang of East Chapel Hill High received the Bernadine Sullivan Chair for Excellence in Teaching High School English or Social Studies.

Ashley Laver of Rashkis Elementary School earned the Sockwell Chair for Excellence in Teaching Primary Grades (PreK-2).

Katherine Pardue of Phillips Middle School won the Burton Stuart Chair for Promising New Teachers in Math or Science.

Danae Shipp of McDougle Middle School was awarded the GlaxoSmithKline Chair for Excellence in Teaching Middle School Science or Math.

Jack Watson of Chapel Hill High was presented with PTA Chair for Excellence in Teaching Cultural Arts.

Candace White of Glenwood Elementary School achieved the Neil Pedersen Teachers First Chair for Excellence in Classroom Technology.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro Public School Foundation offers its congratulations to these teachers for their outstanding contributions to the educational experiences students of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools.

Local School Panel To Discuss Budget Cuts

CHAPEL HILL – A special panel from your Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools will meet today at 4 p.m. to talk about budget cuts and teaching.  The panelists include Director of Student Equity, Graig Meyer, Former Teacher for East Chapel Hill High, Jennifer Colletti, and Assistant Superintendent for Support Services, Todd LoFrese.

The panel will discuss the budget and the effect that recent cuts could have on teaching and students.

Director of Student Equity, Graig Meyer, will be able to answer difficult questions on how the budget cuts are affecting affordability of college for students, and the impact that it has on the families.

As a former teacher, Jennifer Colletti can give insight on how the budget cuts affect teachers in the state and the future of teaching as a profession.

Assistant Superintendent, Todd LoFrese, can let you know which budget reductions are impacting the area the most and if any recent legislation causes concern for the school the system.

Tune in to 97.9 FM WCHL and click here to hear all the comments live Monday at 4:00 p.m.