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Morning Memo: NCGA studies Colo. school choice; DHHS execs see pay bump

NCGA STAFF EXAMINES COLORADO SCHOOL CHOICE: Three employees of the General Assembly went to Douglas County, Colo., for nearly a week in June to examine that county’s school funding model and determine the feasibility of trying something similar in North Carolina.

The Douglas County school district, the third largest in Colorado, is known for its emphasis on school choice and has pursued major – and often controversial – education reforms in recent years. Read more here.

***Get a full wrap on North Carolina political headlines below in the Dome Morning Memo. Send news and tips to dome@newsobserver.com.***

Laffer lauds GOP lawmakers for tax push at Civitas lawmaker 'training'

Economist Art Laffer told state lawmakers that the movement to overhaul the tax code in North Carolina is crucial to the national "fight for a different sort of economics."

"You are wearing the white hat," he said. "Don't let them take the white hate off you. Go to the goal line."

Laffer, the conservative economist and trickle-down believer, gave the keynote address at a "training" for state lawmakers hosted by the Civitas Institute, a conservative political organization.

The event featured presentations from a number of state lawmakers from outside North Carolina who are members of the American Legislative Exchange Council, known as a ALEC, a controversial group that pushes "model legislation" based on conservative ideology.

Judge blocks state's first virtual school

A proposal for the state’s first online charter school hit a major roadblock Friday toward its planned opening in August.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Abe Jones overturned a May decision by a state administrative law judge that would have allowed N.C. Learns, a nonprofit organization, to open the N.C. Virtual Academy.

Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, a Republican from Cabarrus County and attorney representing the online program, said the principal backers of the idea would get together and decide whether to appeal Jones’ ruling or seek approval from the State Board of Education. Full story here.

Morning Roundup: N.C. school choice debate enters the courtroom

A virtual charter school with the potential to siphon millions of dollars from traditional public schools will pit school-choice advocates against the state’s education establishment at a Monday court hearing.

A Wake County Superior Court judge is scheduled to hear arguments on whether an online charter school program that would be run by a for-profit company should be allowed to open in North Carolina in August, as a state administrative law judge ruled in May. The state Board of Education hopes to persuade the Superior Court judge that proper procedures were not followed for a new program that represents one of the more overt commercial aspects of the school-choice movement. Full story here.

Other political headlines below.

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