North Carolina court stops order to spend $1.7B on education

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -A North Carolina appeals court has blocked enforcement of parts of a trial judge’s order that demanded $1.7 billion be spent by state agencies to address public education inequities.

The majority on a three-judge panel hearing a request by the state controller agreed Tuesday that Superior Court Judge David Lee crossed the line by appropriating money.

The ruling could be appealed.

Lee has said he believed he had the authority from the state constitution and the Supreme Court to act.

This is the latest chapter in longstanding school funding litigation known as “Leandro.”

Senate Leader Phil Berger said, “The people of North Carolina through their elected legislators, not an unelected county-level trial judge, decide how to spend tax dollars. Rather than accepting responsibility for lagging achievement and outright failure, the Leandro parties insist that the pathway to student improvement is always the simple application of more money. Judge Lee, education special interests, and the Cooper Administration hatched this unconstitutional scheme to funnel $1.7 billion in extra money to a failed education bureaucracy; this Court has rightly called them on it. The legislature will continue to follow the Constitution and advance policies that enhance opportunities for student achievement, empower parents, and fund students, not failing bureaucratic systems.”

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