July 25, 2014


NC: Cotham: New NC Senate bill shields salaries of for-profit charter school staff. Conflict over disclosure of charter-school salaries flared anew Thursday as House Democrats said a Senate-approved bill shields for-profit management companies from revealing who they hire and how much they pay. In a Thursday evening news conference, Rep. Tricia Cotham, D-Mecklenburg, led the call for the public and Gov. Pat McCrory to fight a move that she says blocks accountability and transparency at charter schools, which are run by nonprofit boards and funded with public money. “It’s a simple principle: The public should know where public money is going,” she said. At issue is a much-revised bill introduced in May after the Observer requested charter school salaries and questions arose about what those schools are required to release. A new version was quietly brought before the Senate Thursday and approved unanimously. Charlotte Observer

PA: Pennsylvania bill intended to derail I-80 toll talk. . . . Citing possible federal efforts to permit charging toll taxes to access existing roadways, Rep. Matt Gabler, R-Clearfield, introduced a bill that would forbid handing over state roadways such as I-80 without legislative approval. “This bill is intended to make sure any future discussions about tolling run a transparent course through state government to avoid surprises and give citizens a strong voice,” Gabler said in a news release. He also said the bill would help avert “economic uncertainty” that existed following the passage of Act 44, which was detrimental to jobs and economic development along the I-80 corridor. Land Line Magazine

ME: Private property owner cut public Cliff Walk out of plans for York Harbor land. The Friends of the Cliff Walk are expected to turn out in force Thursday for a Planning Board meeting in which a York Harbor resident has submitted a revision to his oceanfront property that does not include the Cliff Walk on the plan. . . . Community Development Director Steve Burns, who oversees the planning department, said before York moves forward to uphold the public’s right to use the Cliff Walk, town officials were waiting to get the status of the state Supreme Court’s reconsideration of the precedent-setting Goose Rocks Beach case. Earlier this year, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of private property owners over the public’s right to use Goose Rocks Beach in Kennebunkport.  Bangor Daily News

ME: Lewiston parents worry privatized gymnastics program would be out of reach. Parents of city gymnasts say they’re worried that efforts to privatize a recreation department program will price their kids out of the sport. Lewiston Sun Journal

Unions put teachers on streets — for votes. While other interest groups focus on the frenzied fight for control of the Senate, teachers unions are pouring their resources into state politics. They’re pushing to flip legislative chambers in several states to Democratic control and put allies in key offices such as attorney general and secretary of state in Arizona, Colorado and New Mexico. Above all, they’re out to oust incumbent Republican governors, especially Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Florida’s Rick Scott and Michigan’s Rick Snyder. Education rarely shows up as a top concern for voters in national polls. But it’s been a galvanizing force in recent mayoral elections in New York and Newark, and unions believe it will stir voters on the state level in a year roiling with debates about the Common Core, standardized testing and the soaring cost of college. Politico