Healthy Start moves closer to demolishing Morehead Hill homes
In town, can't cook this Thanksgiving? Here's some Durham restaurants open Thu.

BCR's Daily Fishwrap Report for November 25, 2009

Judging from the traffic streaming on NC 147 last night -- and the lack of it this morning around town -- looks like many folks have checked out already ahead of the holiday. If you're still around and looking to gobble up some news, you're in the right place. In the headlines:

Ahrendsen to Head New Transportation Dept.: The long-awaited City org chart change to create a Transportation department is complete, with Mark Ahrendsen to lead the department (cobbled together from Public Works and General Services) come Jan. 1. The department will include transit, taxicabs, parking, and transportation planning -- the addition of the latter being the key change from the initially-announced plan, and the reason for the slow-bake of the plan. Street maintenance and paving stays in Public Works, so if you're mad about that nasty pothole, you should still totally call Katie Kalb to kvetch. (Herald-Sun, N&O)

Charter Schools Owed More: A state court decision finding that charter schools have been shorted millions from the Char-Meck system will have reverberations in most districts, but perhaps nowhere more than Durham, in which 10% of students are enrolled in charter schools. A separate lawsuit seeking money for charter school construction is still wending through the system. (N&O)

Legislators Criticize BCBSNC Lobbying: The Watts-Hillandale list caught fire over non-profit Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC sending members flyers urging opposition to health care reform. Now the 'hood's resident state rep., Paul Luebke, has joined with a couple of dozen colleagues in asking the state AG and insurance commissioner to look at whether the non-profit overstepped its legal limits in lobbying members on the issue. (Herald-Sun)

No AALS for NCCU Law -- Yet: Central's law school didn't get the approval to join the reputable Association of American Law Schools this week, though its dean holds out hope for a spring approval once more faculty publications that are in the pipeline work their way through to publication. (Herald-Sun)

Durham Slightly Below State Poverty Average: 18% of NC counties have more than 20% of their population living in poverty, a set concentrated in rural communities. Durham saw 13% of its population classed below the poverty line, just below the state average of 14%. (WRAL)

Comments

Michael Bacon

I'm really happy about the transportation department addition. Mark Ahrendsen is really one of the most superb public servants I've interacted with inside the city, and I think we really need an independent department. Great move by Bonfield.

TH

In regards to the N&O article about Charter schools, I would have liked to see the N&O discuss which legislation and when it was passed that mandated that local education money be sent to charter schools. And what that means.... if DPS provides 3200 in local funding per child in Durham Schools does that mean that the full 3200 follows the Charter Child?

I think Charters are a good concept, BUT it needs to be improved upon. IF we are going to give the same amount of local funding (and state & federal) to Charters as we do local district schools then I would expect Charters to offer the same programs and services that local schools have to offer. For instance, most charters do not offer busing or meal services. And MANY do not offer counselors, so children who might need those services don't get what they need at a Charter. And libraries at Charter Schools are typically inadequate. Moreover, if Charters want the same cut of the pie as district schools, I think they need to be prepared to represent the community. If a Charter springs up in a neighborhood where 50% of the children meet F&R lunch standards, then that Charter needs to have at least 50% of their kids who are F&R lunch.

If they want the same funding they need to be held to the same accountability. Currently there are some amazing Charters out there doing great things in communities. And there are some who just skim off the top kids from middle class & upper middle class families and provide an alternative to private school. That's not how I want my tax dollars spent.

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