Thursday, April 05, 2007


Speaker Joe Hackney, along with other leaders in the House, announced the start of an initiative to improve the state’s high school graduation rate by setting up pilot programs that will serve as models for other schools. A recent report showed that about 30 percent of the state’s students aren’t graduating within four years of entering high school. The House plans to set aside money this year for the program and has set a goal of a 100 percent graduation rate.

The House appointed eight people to the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, the policy making board for the state’s 16 public universities. Ronald Leatherwood of Waynesville, former Robeson County schools superintendent Purnell Swett and former Fayetteville Mayor Marshall Pitts were elected to the board for the first time. The House also elected five incumbents: Brent Barringer of Cary; Charles Hayes of Sanford; G. Leroy Lail of Hickory; Gladys Ashe Robinson of Pleasant Garden; and Priscilla Taylor of Chapel Hill (formerly of Greensboro).

The House approved a measure that would give school systems more scheduling flexibility. Under the bill, the State Board of Education could grant waivers for educational purposes to school districts that want to start before Aug. 25, the date set in state law. Some parents and the travel industry want the state to continue enforcing that law. School boards and educators say the strict scheduling requirements limit students’ academic options. The bill must now go to the Senate.

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