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Manning Hears Testimony on State Budget

Educational experts testified in a Wake County courtroom yesterday in a hearing over how the state's recently passed budget will affect North Carolina's schools.

Judge Howard Manning convened the hearing as part of his responsibility to monitor whether the state is providing what a former court case calls a "sound, basic education." The state Supreme Court found in 1997 that the state is constitutionally obligated to provide students with that quality education. But the Republican-penned budget that will take effect July first makes deep cuts to public schools. Attorneys for five poor school districts argue the budget won't measure up to the state's constitutional requirement. John Dornan, a senior fellow of the Public School Forum, testified that budget cuts in recent years have severely decimated training programs for teachers. John Pruett, who oversees early learning programs for the Department of Public Instruction, said cuts to the More at Four program will be devastating to pre-kindergarten programs in the state.

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