Local Politics

Education Among Likely Items on Legislature's Agenda

Education is expected to be a major issue on the agenda for the General Assembly's 147th session.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Immigration reform, a death penalty moratorium and Medicare are part of the General Assembly's agenda, the state Senate's leader said Friday.

Another topic likely to be discussed in the state Legislature's 147th session, which begins Wednesday, is education on a state and local level so that the state can keep up with a growing world economy.

"We have to build our schools so we can compete with countries who want to take our jobs that require knowledge," Senate President Pro Tempore Marc Basnight said.

Basnight attributes part of the success to keeping tuition low at universities and community colleges.

He says a recent study that named six University of North Carolina schools as "best buys" is proof lawmakers are doing just that.

Basnight also says the state needs to look for ways to help local school systems keep up with growth, but he's not sure a statewide school construction bond is the best answer.

"The treasurer is a pretty good scrooge, and the governor is, for that matter," Basnight said. "And they're not sure we should borrow money we have to pay back or that takes money from other appropriations."

Earlier this year, a group estimated the state needed $10 billion for school construction . If a bond is proposed, voters will have the final say in a statewide referendum.

PROGRAMMING NOTE: WRAL's Cullen Browder takes a look at some of the biggest legislative topics and talks to the main players in a WRAL news special airing on WRAL-TV Wednesday, Jan. 24 at 7 p.m.


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