Overhaul of No Child Left Behind could lead to millions more for NC schools

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – North Carolina supporters of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), which would replace No Child Left Behind, said it could add millions of extra dollars in state schools each year.

The bipartisan bill passed the House vote overwhelming, and now only needs another Senate vote before going to President Obama for his signature. The president has already said he would sign it once it gets to his desk.

The bill would replace No Child Left Behind, which some said was extremely outdated.

“It’s 8 years out of date now. It was to be re-authorized 8 years ago, so we’ve been living under burdens,” said Carr Ipock, a Craven County Schools board member and president elect of the NC State School Board Association.

Ipock has gone to Washington each of the last eight years to help convince lawmakers to change the way the education system in the country operates.

One of the biggest supporters of ESEA is Senator Richard Burr (R-NC). He voiced his support back in March during a committee meeting.

“Do we not have an obligation to get it right,” Burr said. “To write a formula that reflects the realities of where the population is that we’re trying to impact.”

Burr argued the “hold harmless” provision in No Child Left Behind was costing states like North Carolina millions of dollars every year. Hold harmless doesn’t penalize states with shrinking student populations. Instead, they keep the same amount of federal funding.

Burr argued they should get rid of the provision in order to give states with growing student populations more money, and those with shrinking population less. By doing that, he estimates North Carolina schools could get $24 million more to help schools with high poverty levels.

All elementary schools in Craven County except one meets the poverty requirements to receive some of those funds. Ipock said the $24 million across the state would likely be used to rehire some teacher assistant positions cut by previous state budgets.

“They are the hands on, with the teacher, to make sure every child has someone there, who can guide them early in reading,” he said.

The Senate is expected to vote on ESEA again next week.

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