Judge orders state to pay (N&O)

https://i0.wp.com/images.news14.com/media/2007/5/3/images/01manning2.jpg Judge Howard “Leandro case” Manning has ordered various state agencies to cough up as much as $768 million to be paid directly to public school districts statewide, the News & Observer of Raleigh is reporting.

Cash only, please.

While the article says it was not a formal order, the money would come from civil fines collected over a decade from multiple sources. In a 2005 state Supreme Court ruling, these fines are required to be doled out to local school districts and under state law, the fines are to be used for technology purposes.

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See this N&O excerpt:

Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. stopped short of issuing a formal order. He rejected most arguments aimed at limiting the payout and the number of districts that would receive money from a pot of civil fines collected by state agencies for almost a decade ending in 2005.

Those fines included penalties levied for not paying state taxes, fines paid by overweight trucks, and parking tickets issued at state universities. In 2005, the state Supreme Court ruled that the money wasn’t being doled out to public schools as state law requires and sent the case to Wake County Superior Court to determine how much the schools should get.

Once Manning issues his order, the Wake County school system, now the largest in the state, could reap as much as a $70 million windfall.

Under state law, the pool of civil fines must be used to pay for new technology.

The judge’s declared intent was cheered by Triangle school districts that helped spearhead the long-running lawsuit.

“It’s fabulous,” said Minnie Forte-Brown, chairwoman of the Durham school board. “Our wish list always includes things to enhance our programs.”

Wake school board member Lori Millberg was skeptical.

“There is a long list of things we’d love to be able to fund with that money,” Millberg said. “But I am a little pessimistic until I actually see the money.”

Others were optimistic.

“It’s a substantial amount of money,” said Leanne Winner, director of governmental relations for the N.C. School Boards Association, which is one of the groups that had sued the state. “Technology is one of the greatest needs in schools today.”

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E.C. 🙂

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