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Attorneys Finish Hearing Over Education

Judge Howard Manning heard closing statements today in a hearing convened to decide whether the newly passed state budget provides students the kind of education that's constitutionally guaranteed to them.

Attorneys for five poor school districts in a long-running court case over education argue the new budget won't comply with the state supreme court's mandate to provide every student with a sound, basic education. In closing statements today, an attorney for the districts said the budget seriously erodes the quality of the pre-kindergarten More at Four program for low-income children. Education experts called to testify said the budget will require many districts to cut teaching jobs that will compromise classrooms. But an attorney for the state said it's too early to know exactly how the new budget will affect education. And he said it's not apparent that the cuts are unconstitutional. It's not clear when Judge Manning will render a ruling in the case.

Jessica Jones covers both the legislature in Raleigh and politics across the state. Before her current assignment, Jessica was given the responsibility to open up WUNC's first Greensboro Bureau at the Triad Stage in 2009. She's a seasoned public radio reporter who's covered everything from education to immigration, and she's a regular contributor to NPR's news programs. Jessica started her career in journalism in Egypt, where she freelanced for international print and radio outlets. After stints in Washington, D.C. with Voice of America and NPR, Jessica joined the staff of WUNC in 1999. She is a graduate of Yale University.
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