NC high court says school complaint is moot

Nov. 08, 2013 @ 03:35 PM

North Carolina's Supreme Court says an appeal of a complaint involving changes in a pre-kindergarten program for needy children is moot because lawmakers have fixed the problem.

It's the latest chapter in a 19-year-old dispute brought by poor school districts in five counties.

The court ruled in 2004 that the constitutional right to a sound, basic education includes helping young children at risk of falling behind their peers. Legislative leaders then committed to a program of pre-kindergarten services.

But in 2011, new Republican majorities in the General Assembly effectively limited the program by restricting the number of slots for at-risk 4-year-olds and cutting funding by 20 percent.

The districts took legal action. But while the case was pending, lawmakers made changes the Supreme Court now says make the controversy moot.