Oregon billionaire's charter school empire invades North Carolina


And Team CFA likes to keep the money in the family:

In fall of 2016 Aristotle Prep -CFA received an F from the state and failed to meet academic growth standards. This year Aristotle Prep – CFA received a D. Last year Aristotle enrollment was 150 students, compared with 550 projected when it received the charter. The Aristotle Prep – CFA and Achievement for All Children contract requires state Board of Education approval. A fundamental problem is that Aristotle’s board did not seek proposals from other management companies. It seems a sweetheart deal for Aristotle Prep-CFA was arranged by a network of TeamCFA members.

In this case, the advisory board requested a three-person panel of state Board of Education members to review the Aristotle Prep -CFA plan. The trio endorsed the plan originally, but conflict of interest concerns moved the full board voted unanimously to defer action and get a ruling from the ethics commission.

That's a pretty sweet deal if you think about it: Screw up the academic status of your school while bilking taxpayers for tuition, which then triggers an "in-house" contract to fix the problem you created. Making money coming and going. Be on the lookout for these charter school pirates sailing into your home town:

Court appoints Special Master to review gerrymandered Legislative maps


And this isn't the Professor's first rodeo either:

Judge Catherine Eagles informed the attorneys in the order that Nathaniel Persily, who has helped draw districts for New York, Maryland, Georgia and Connecticut, would review North Carolina’s new legislative maps and possibly help the judges draw new lines for 2018. Persily will be paid $500 an hour, which the judges described as half his typical hourly rate. The filing period for state legislative races is set to begin in February.

“If any party has grounds to believe that Professor Persily has a conflict of interest which would disqualify him from serving as Special Master or is otherwise objectionable,” the judges said, the attorneys should file an objection within two business days. Any objectors may suggest a different mapmaker, the judges added.

This article corrects something I've been getting wrong for several weeks: Candidate filing for Legislative races is in February, not December, so we've got more breathing room on that. Also something to keep in mind: Persily's involvement in evaluating and potentially redrawing district lines may be limited to just a handful of races:

Friday News: The company he keeps


DAN FOREST ATTENDS FUNDRAISER WITH SPINDALE CULT LEADERS: A photo provided to The News & Observer shows Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest at a fundraiser with a leader of a western North Carolina church that’s being sued by a former member who says church leaders tried to beat the “homosexual demons” out of him. Forest, who was elected to a second term last year, is a socially conservative Republican who’s expected to run for governor in 2020. The photo shows Forest standing in a living room with Robin Webster, a leader of Word of Faith Fellowship in Spindale in Rutherford County, about 70 miles west of Charlotte. Word of Faith has come under scrutiny in recent months after 43 former members told the Associated Press that church members try to expel demons using “blasting” prayers where congregants were smacked, choked, punched and thrown to the floor.

Bill Brisson takes off his donkey mask and declares for the GOP

Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out:

Democratic Rep. Bill Brisson announced Wednesday he will change his party registration and run for a seventh term as a Republican. Democrats now hold just 45 seats in the 120-member House.

Brisson, 71, represents parts of Bladen, Sampson, and Johnston counties. He has been a Republican ally for years. At times during his career, Brisson provided Republicans with crucial votes on important bills. For example, he and four other Democrats helped Republicans override former Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget vetoes in 2011.

That tear you see slowly coursing down my cheek is one of joy and relief, so don't fret yourself over my condition.

Thursday News: Talking trash

RECYCLING DOWN IN NC AS SOLID WASTE PILES UP: Several counties around the state, including those in the Triangle, are buried underneath mounting piles of trash as local leaders figure out how to dig out from under a growing problem that, left unsolved, will only get worse. "We're doing our best to deal with these things," said John Roberson, who is solid waste director for Wake County. Wake and other local counties are each taking different routes to adequately deal with the thousands of tons of trash that is delivered to landfills and recycling centers. But according to the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the amount of trash being taken to many county disposal sites is growing. North Carolina residents each year dispose of over $41 million worth of plastic. The state's residents toss nearly $17 million worth of steel products every year. About $270 million worth of goods that can be recycled is disposed of every year.

Coal Ash Wednesday: Not-so-sweet home Alabama


Power company informs Wilsonville Council and residents about "cap and leak" plan:

Tensions rose at times during Monday's Wilsonville City Council meeting, as a group of Alabama Power representatives spoke with the council members and Wilsonville residents about the company's plans to cover the 269-acre coal ash pond at the nearby E.C. Gaston Electric Generating Plant.

Wilsonville Mayor Lee McCarty and a handful of audience members asked pointed questions of the Alabama Power delegation, though many in the audience simply listened.

Thanks to an appearance by representatives of the Southern Environmental Law Center (SELC) the day before, some pretty good questions were asked. But the answers they received were somewhere between vaguely misleading and downright lies:

Hall of shame: NC's Congressional delegation fails the test of decency

In a remarkable speech on the floor of the US Senate yesterday, Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona called a spade a spade. Taking on Trump collaborators and enablers, he leveled damning criticism at his own party for failing to stop the descent into perversion that is happening before our eyes in America.

Wednesday News: Voting matters


DEMOCRACY NC REPORT: 100 MUNICIPAL RACES WON BY JUST A FEW VOTES (OR ONE): A study from nonpartisan voting rights advocacy group Democracy North Carolina shows that just a handful of votes – or in some cases, a single vote – can determine who wins or loses, especially in odd-year municipal elections. Democracy North Carolina has been one of the most active groups in lawsuits and other actions opposing voter ID and other Republican-led election changes, and it also addresses issues of money in politics. It sometimes partners with the North Carolina NAACP. Democracy North Carolina analyzed November 2015 elections in the state and determined that the mayor or a town council member in 69 cities won their election by five or fewer votes.

Tuesday News: Entrenched bigotry


BERGER & MOORE REFUSE TO SETTLE LAWSUIT ON HB2.0 OUT OF SPITE FOR LGBT AND COOPER: Gov. Roy Cooper and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit — LGBT citizens and civil rights groups — asked U.S. District Judge Thomas Schroeder last week to approve a settlement that would end the litigation. But the agreement also would make it clear that transgender people can use restrooms aligned with the gender they identify with in state government buildings that Cooper controls. But House Speaker Tim Moore and Senate leader Phil Berger, who worked out a compromise with Cooper last spring on House Bill 2 and are defendants like Cooper, oppose the consent decree and wrote Monday they intend to file a motion to that effect. Meanwhile, they told Schroeder on Monday in a brief that the lawsuit against the replacement law known as HB142 should be thrown out because the plaintiffs haven't shown they've been injured by the new law.


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