There’s movement in the Leandro case. Attorneys for defendants, plaintiffs agree to work to improve K-12 education

Superior Court Judge David Lee

The defendants and plaintiffs in the quarter-century-old Leandro case have agreed to work together to create a plan to improve K-12 education in North Carolina.

Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a consent order Monday, and gave attorneys 60 days to submit a plan that spells out how the parties intend to meet the short-term goals recommended in the West Ed report released in December. Plans to meet longer-term goals will come later.

WestEd, an independent consultant, was ordered by Lee to conduct extensive research into the state’s public education system and to bring back recommendations for improvement. Its report will serve as the framework for the attorney’s plan.

The Leandro case began more than a quarter-century ago after five rural school districts sued the state, arguing they couldn’t raise the tax revenue needed to provide students with a quality education.

In 1997, the State Supreme Court stepped in and held that every child has a right to a “sound, basic education under the state constitution.

The WestEd recommendations carry a hefty price tag of more than $8 billion over the next eight years.

Lee said he’s bound by law to ensure the state lives up to its constitutional obligations.

“To me that means I’m also bound by what the state Supreme Court said back there in 1997 and that is, if somebody else doesn’t do it, the court has to do it, ill equipped though it may be.” Lee said. “I think I would be dodging my constitutional duty if I didn’t push this and do what needs to be done. I’m not afraid to do that.”

See the full story Wednesday at ncpolicywatch.com

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