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For those with election fatigue – yes,  there is more going on this week than the mid-term races. Here are three stories that have North Carolina educators buzzing:

  • The Superintendent of the Charlotte Mecklenburg School system announced Monday that he will resign from the post this Thursday to  Heath Morrison's official picture 200x250spend more time with his family, catching almost everyone in the district off-guard. You can read Superintendent Heath Morrison’s resignation letter here. You can also read the Charlotte Observer’s latest article speculating on what may be behind Morrison’s sudden departure.
  • The State Board of Education will discuss Wednesday the decision by Wilmington’s Charter Day School Inc. not to release the salary information of Roger Bacon Academy employees. All charter school operators faced a September 30th deadline to release that information. The Wilmington Star News has a preview of what comes next in this dispute. For more background, check out Sarah Ovaska’s recent blog post on the ‘trade secret’ salaries. .
  • Finally, The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interesting read on three governors who made deep cuts to higher education and may pay the price on Election Day. The gubernatorial races profiled are in Florida, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. Here’s an excerpt from Eric Kelderman’s article:

    Whether or not the incumbents win, the tight races may be a signal from voters that fiscal restraint has its limits, said Daniel J. Hurley, director of state relations and policy analysis at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

    “What message is sent in states with these close matchups?” Mr. Hurley asked. “Did these Republican lawmakers take it too far in terms of cutting taxes and reducing spending?”

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Top10-smWith so much attention on North Carolina’s U.S. Senate race, many voters may be surprised that on the back on the ballot they have a chance to decide whether they want to amend the state’s constitution. The proposal would allow individuals charged with a felony to waive their right to a trial by jury in favor of a bench trial.

What are the pros and cons of this proposed amendment?

Listen to Chris Fitzsimon’s recent radio interview with professor Jeff Welty of the UNC School of Government:

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EARLYWith early voting drawing to a close on Saturday, the number of people voting in person and taking advantage of the convenience of early voting is approaching 700,000.

Associated Press’ Gary Robertson reports:

State Board of Elections data show nearly 690,000 people had cast ballots from the start of early voting Oct. 23 through Wednesday at centers in all 100 counties. It closes Saturday afternoon.

Democrats have cast 49 percent of early in-person votes this fall, compared to 47 percent in all of early voting in 2010, according to the board data. Republicans comprise 31 percent of this year’s vote and unaffiliated voters are at 20 percent. During 2010, Republicans cast 36 percent and unaffiliateds at 17 percent.

If you’re stumped about what’s on the ballot or who to vote for beyond the race at the top of the ticket, be sure to check out the 2014 North Carolina Voter Guide, where you can see a side-by-side comparison of every  candidate in all 100 counties.

Also take time to listen to our recent radio interview with Brent Laurenz, Executive Director of the nonpartisan North Carolina Center for Voter Education who discusses the voter guide and the future of public financing:

For a list of early voting times and locations, click here. To find your correct polling place for Tuesday, November 4th, click here.

News

logoIf you received a letter from Blue Cross Blue Shield this week quoting individual insurance rates for 2015, it might be worth checking those numbers twice. About 42,000 BCBSNC individuals received letters this week containing incorrect amounts.

In some cases, customers saw their costs increase more than 100 percent.

Blue Cross is inviting customers to call customer service starting Friday to get their correct  rate for next year.

New rate letters are also on the way. About 38,000 customers will learn they received a rate that is too high. Roughly 4,000 customers will be notified that the rates they received were lower than what they should be.

The average rate increase for individual customers next year is 13.4%, with many customers receiving subsidies.

According to the insurer, this error affected only customers who are grandfathered and have a Blue Advantage health plan with a $15 co-pay for primary care office visits (Plan A).

Here’s what to look for:

bcbsnc-mistake

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, customers are invited to call customer service starting today to check their rate quote.

News

North Carolina’s tight Senate race earned a new distinction this week – topping $100 million spent in total advertising, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation.

The contest also brought former Massachusetts governor and 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney to Raleigh Wednesday stumping for Republican House Speaker Thom Tillis:

“There’s no question but that the president’s policies are on the ballot in November, even though the president himself is not,” Romney said. “And I don’t want to see President Obama’s policies furthered in this country any more than they already have been.”

Not to be outdone, incumbent Democrat Kay Hagan will have former President Bill Clinton by her side Friday rallying voters at Raleigh’s Broughton High School. You may recall, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already appeared on Hagan’s behalf last week in Charlotte.

So will these political heavyweights make a difference for voters?

We put that question to NC State political scientist Andy Taylor, who appears on NC Policy Watch’s weekly radio show this weekend with Chris Fitzsimon:
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So, whether you have a fit for Mitt or a thrill when you see Bill, just remember that early voting draws to a close this Saturday. For a list of early voting times and locations, click here.

To find your polling place for Tuesday, November 4th, click here.