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Carolina Journal Radio No. 757: State should ban law enforcement from ‘equitable sharing’ programs with feds

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai
The Truth Network Radio
November 20, 2017 12:00 am

Carolina Journal Radio No. 757: State should ban law enforcement from ‘equitable sharing’ programs with feds

Carolina Journal Radio / Donna Martinez and Mitch Kokai

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November 20, 2017 12:00 am

North Carolina lawmakers could take a step toward protecting private property rights by banning state and local law enforcement agencies from participating in so-called “equitable sharing” programs with the federal government. Jon Guze, John Locke Foundation director of legal studies, explains how these programs work. Guze also discusses the misuse of the programs and the negative impact on the relationship between law officers and the people they are hired to protect. October 31 marked the 500th anniversary of actions from German monk Martin Luther that led to the Protestant Reformation. The world still feels the effect of Luther’s decision to question basic practices of the Catholic church. Michael Gillespie, professor of political science and philosophy at Duke University, discusses how various strands of Luther’s thought helped influence competing ideas within American political history. N.C. lawmakers learned recently that three people die in this state every day because of opioids. The number might soon increase to four deaths per day. You’ll hear highlights from a legislative discussion of the ongoing opioid epidemic. This state’s elected leaders have been turning attention in recent months to the process of selecting judges to serve in N.C. courts. James Drennan, professor at the University of North Carolina School of Government, offered them a recent presentation comparing North Carolina to the rest of the states. Drennan reminded lawmakers that no state has developed a perfect system that guarantees both accountability for judges and independence from political forces. A new state legislative task force is diving into the details of North Carolina’s K-12 public education funding models. Terry Stoops, John Locke Foundation vice president for research, explains why the current system is confusing. He explains how reform might help N.C. taxpayers see a greater impact from the billions of dollars they spend each year on public schools.

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From charity to Currituck from the largest city to the smallest and from the statehouse into the schoolhouse Carolina Journal radio your weekly news magazine discussing North Carolina's most public policy events and issues welcome to Carolina Journal radio I'd which Coke I during the next hour Dr. Martinez that I will explore some major issues affecting our state. The world recently marked the 500th anniversary of the events that launched the Protestant Reformation, but Duke University expert joins us to help explore that event's ongoing importance, including two American political life. State lawmakers recently reviewed North Carolina's opioid epidemic and its impact you'll hear highlights from their discussion. Legislators have been debating the best way for North Carolina to select judges merit selection elections. You'll hear some of the information they learned from the UNC expert who's also a former top state judicial administrator plus will highlight a new group that's looking at the confusing system.

North Carolina uses to fund its public schools. Those topics are just ahead. First, Donna Martin has joins us with the Carolina Journal headline North Carolina should take steps to stop state and local law enforcement agencies from working with the federal government in civil asset forfeiture equitable sharing programs.

Why well because our next guest says that these programs threaten North Carolinians property rights, putting innocent people at risk is the primary message of a new John Locke foundation spotlight report written by John good is a director of legal studies John, welcome to the program personnel what is civil asset forfeiture. For those of us who aren't attorneys. Well, it's a very strange sort of legal process is one that we really didn't have anything in this country for well well over 100 years.

It's kinda like what used to happen the Middle Ages when the authorities were put an animal or tree or an inanimate object on trial for a crime.

This is a case where the government instead of going after the owner of property in proving that that person acquire the property in legal matters through the theater used to commit a crime or with the proceeds of a crime they don't do that tall.

Instead, they bring an action against the property itself and they bring with.

It's called civil asset forfeiture because it's a civil action which means they don't have to prove that this was acquired or are used in an illicit way beyond a reasonable doubt the way you would have to do in a criminal trial. What applies is the preponderance of the evidence standard. What that means is they simply have to show it slightly more likely than not that this property was tainted in some way do they have to illustrate that before they can actually seize my property.

They just have to convince a judge or magistrate depends of the jurisdiction. They don't even come before jury unless, in the unlikely event that the owner of the property is sophisticated enough has enough resources and courses innocent enough to bring an action to get the property back because another thing that makes this different from a criminal proceeding is the burden is on the person who whose property was taken to go to court and make their case and prove beyond by the preponderance of evidence standard that they're innocent when we say property that they can seize property. What is that just house any kind of property, houses have been taken. Cars are very often taken in cash can be taken to a typical instance of this might be you. If the police pull somebody over they see or they asked to search in one way or another they become aware the fact that there's a large sum of cash in the vehicle they'll take the cash on the assumption that I would a baby carrying a lot of cash unless they were involved in narcotics or some kind of other illegal offer activity while John you're describing how this occurs in North Carolina. So are you telling me that it is legal in North Carolina. Well yes and no doubt we actually have one of the best asset forfeiture is the regimes of the country, North Carolina.

Most of the time. There are a few exceptions, but most of the time. If the police think that some property has been used for crime or was acquired through criminal activity. They can seize the property which is right and proper. But they have to show that the they have to bring a charge against the owner of the owner has to be charged with a crime and they have to prove by Lisa put a preponderance of evidence standard that that property was in fact used to commit the crime or was acquired through a crime so that's the way it's done. Under North Carolina law. That's where it ought to be done only reason North Carolinians have really got to worry about this other process which is civil asset forfeiture as opposed to criminal forfeiture is because federal laws are being used in North Carolina to preempt state law.

And that's the problem that we are addressing in this paper, you are saying that there are local law enforcement agencies in North Carolina who are somehow working with the federal government on this civil asset forfeiture and if that's the case, wanted to get out of it well. They get a lot of the proceeds. The way this works is that the federal government revive civil asset forfeiture is sort of a novel tool in the war against drugs back in the 70s it was codified by federal law and in the 1980s and the Fed started using it in a big way. Gradually, most states put in place their own civil asset forfeiture is but to our credit. North Carolina never did that our legislature has wisdom could see that this was a violation of due process and a violation of North Carolina's property rights and they didn't go along. However, the feds also started encouraging state and local law enforcement agencies to take advantage of federal laws and the way it works is this.

If that state policeman pulls over a driver and takes their cash or if they take the vehicle off.

They take a house they can go before a federal magistrate and have that magistrate process the seizure under federal civil asset forfeiture laws, and then through a profit through a program is called equitable sharing 80% typically of the proceeds go back to the law enforcement agency that made the seizure and if I might just digress for a moment. Part of what makes this so egregious North Carolina's under our state constitution all fines and forfeitures are meant to be used specifically for public education in the state.

That's a very good feature of our Constitution and it keeps law enforcement honest because they have nothing to gain by bending the rules and taking people's property without convicting them of a crime. The feds don't do that and as a result.

This is a way local law estate local law enforcement can get the proceeds rather than have been diverted to public education as they ought to be. This is a cash incentive plan, then it is. It's very much an incentive as a perverse incentive and that to my mind is one of the most boring things about it. We in North Carolina haven't had nearly the problems with relations between the public and the police that many other states have seen a part of the reason for that is that our police agencies still have a lot of integrity. They haven't been perverted their relationship with the public has been perverted the way, has in some states when the public instead of being the ones to be defended by the police become their prey. We don't want that to happen in North Carolina when you think about this, John. If we try to put ourselves in the shoes of a North Carolina law enforcement agency if they know that the program exists and clearly they do this federal sharing program. One can understand that the incentive is there. So in some ways you can see it's perfectly understandable that they would go ahead and engage in this city is and I I have no doubt that most of the time the people whose property is being taken are bad guys. I'm sure that much of this property is property ought to be for food because it was used for crime or was the proceeds of crime, but that doesn't change the fact that in North Carolina we think people have the right to due process and police or anyone else to have to prove the prove those allegations before they could take that property. There also seems to be an issue of then the federal government really getting involved in estates business. That's right, I mean if you like to speak in terms of states rights is a perfect example. The feds are undermining the protections that our legislature has wisdom put into and our people in their wisdom put into our statutes and into our Constitution. This is the federal matters of state matter enmeshed we should do things the way we think is right.

Just a North Carolina what should North Carolina policymakers do about this. What can they do well there's there is some things they can do a number.

States have already put in place some laws that limit the put limits on how much they are on when and under what circumstances, state and local law enforcement can participate in the sharing. I think we can do. At least that much of North Carolina and if we wanted to lift the will was there. We could put a stop to it altogether and the numbers John a very interesting how much money are we talking about here that North Carolina has derived this in 2016 will our research we found that between 2007 in 2016, both between them. The Department of treasury and the Department of Justice had shared $170 million in equitable sharing proceeds. That is to say that set that much money back to North Carolina law enforcement agencies. The fact is this is dwarfed by the amount of money that the department of justice is taken from North Carolinians on its own behalf, and we can't really do anything about that, but we can certainly do something about what their way there to corrupt our agencies, women talking to John is a director of legal studies for the John Locke foundation about his new report on civil asset forfeiture. You can read it and John Locke.John thinking that you gonna stay with us much more Carolina general radio to come in just a moment.

Are you wondering where our country is headed.

Well, so are two of our most revered presidents spend an evening with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. That's right, Jefferson and Adams visit the Museum of history in Raleigh for a debate on the future of the United States by Jefferson and Adams think about national security, foreign engagement and the role of government. While time is passed since they let our country the issues and challenges, endure its living history, living history events during two incredible actors Monday evening November 20. Brought to you by the organization dedicated to advancing freedom, the John Locke foundation find details@johnlocke.org that's John Locke with an E.org or call 866 JL FINFO Monday evening November 20 at the Museum of history in Raleigh tickets $10 per person but just five dollars for students Thomas Jefferson and John Adams live in Raleigh November 20. Hope to see you there. Welcome back to Carolina drought radio I Michiko got 500 years after Martin Luther launched what became the Protestant Reformation's actions still exert a profound effect that includes a major impact on modern day American political debates house so our next guest address that question during a recent presentation for the John Locke foundation. He is Dr. Michael Gillespie Prof. of political science and philosophy at Duke University. Thanks for joining us to first ball before we get into how this is impacted things in America in American political and philosophical debates remind us just how significant an impact. This event had Martin Luther supposedly nailing the 95 theses on the door and Wittenberg. What we know now that he probably didn't mail mail them on the door but but it is fascinating because within three weeks of his having published the 95 theses, there were not all the way across Europe.

Part of this is just an indication of the new power of media which is to say the printing press.

We seen some of that again today with rapidity with which news travels from one place to another, but for Europe. This was the first European wide event that Willie was occasioned by the publication of these 95 theses, which turned an obscure German monk into a historical figure and after he published these theses and got all the attention that we ended up seeing the Reformation. One of the things that you talk about in your presentation is the way that different strains of this thought moved around to various countries and ended up coming to impact America in more than one way. Well, yes, and we think of again a week. Think of our own differences between secularism and evangelicalism. For example, and we imagine that that they come from two different sources when in fact you can trace them all back to Luther's 95 theses in a in a kind of strange way and partly that is the distinction between what we sometimes call the magisterial Reformation and the radical Reformation of the magisterial Reformation, which includes Luther, Calvin and singly went off in one direction. That really imagined an omnipotent God who could do anything but diminish the capacity for human freedom. Being able to affect one's theological fate of the radical Reformation. By contrast, really want to emphasize human freedom and of the role that human beings could play in determining their own lives over time as you trace out the various paths of these things were were prone to think that the magisterial Reformation was was central and important for us because it does help to explain religion we see around us today but in fact without understanding the radical Reformation, particularly the role that freedom played within the radical Reformation.

It's hard to understand what happened to Protestantism so Protestantism today for the most part, even among evangelicals is imagined to be a religion in which people have a choice about whether to stand with Christ or not the magisterial reformers Calvin and Luther certainly didn't believe that that had a lot to do with the intervening history. Cobos Armenia's the Wesley's the origins of Methodism baptism etc. etc. on the other hand, within the radical Reformation. There were there were strong concerns about the role that Christ actually played in the Godhead and as a result, the relationship between man and God in between between man and Christ. Should Christ be seen as transcendent God worship Christ be seen as preeminently a moral model on which we should model our behavior within the radical Reformation, particularly anti-Trinitarian's the Quakers and others. The notion of inner light. The role of reason played a huge role in we know now that John Locke, after whom the foundation is named was in fact probably us assuming on antitrinitarian who believed that reason and reasons God alone was sufficient for us to lead our moral and religious lives and is so far as she became the founder of what we think of as classical liberalism and one of the preeminent forms of one of the primitive forms of secular life, we see that transferred into America through a number of his writings but also through the continuation of our trip antitrinitarian is coming to the United States then called Unitarians, and particularly Joe Joseph Priestly (famous scientists came was friends with the with Jefferson with Franklin down with Washington and during that period of the American founding, had a profound impact upon their thinking about religion and politics in the 1820s with the second great awakening.

We saw counterpunch to that from Calvinism. And you know that tests in a way shape the American landscape. Ever since a secular view of religion and life and a more Calvinists view of evangelicalism what so interesting to me is that both of them in a certain sense derived from Luther right and have shaped the way in which we think about the world. For better and for worse and that this religious conflict remains essential to everything we think about that is the voice of Dr. Michael Gillespie Prof. of political science and philosophy at Duke University. Some people may be listening in some of the names are familiar or not, but among our listeners who would not consider themselves particularly religious or even spiritual if they say all this religious stuff doesn't really matter to me. It doesn't have much of an impact on my life. How much of this really does impact the things that people are dealing with the day out terms of the politics of philosophy. Well, I think the at at at the core and and there are number of people that have have attacked religion as as the source of everything that goes wrong in human life.

They consider themselves secular anti-religious input affect almost all of them believe in some version of some version of the Christian message. Even if they don't believe in Christ and one of the examples I like to use on that is the whole idea of rights in a we imagine that rights are something intrinsic to human beings. It's written in our cost Declaration of Independence. It's assumed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights specifies the rights that we have, but we imagine it has foundation beyond merely our own making unity of nature and nature's God. As Jefferson put it in point of fact, almost all of modern science denies the existence of individual human rights. What matters, if you believe in modern biology is not is not the individual. But species and what I try to show in and try to shove my previous book, the theological ordinance of modernity and in the current book I'm working on theological fate of maternity is that the things like rights are really a holdover from Christianity and that their deeply embedded in our psyche in ways that we don't understand and that are essentially Christian, not Muslims understand this because when you when you when you tell them that they ought to honor human rights.

They see that as a western position because they recognize that it's Christian notion and not something compatible religion was a very interesting topic and one that the discussion of hope convinces people that even if they haven't focused much on this 500th anniversary of Martin Luther and feces being published in Wittenberg, Germany, that they should because it has an impact on our lives today. That is the voice of Dr. Michael Gillespie Prof. of political science and philosophy at Duke University.

Thanks much for joining us and will have more on Carolina Journal radio interest. Are you wondering where our country is headed while so are two of our most revered presidents spend an evening with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. That's right, Jefferson and Adams visit the Museum of history in Raleigh for a debate on the future of the United States, Jefferson and Adams think about national security, foreign engagement and the role of government.

While time is passed since they let our country the issues and challenges, endure its living history, living history events during two incredible actors Monday evening November 20. Brought to you by the organization dedicated to advancing freedom, the John Locke foundation find details@johnlocke.org that's John lock with an E.org or call 866 JL FINFO Monday evening November 20 at the Museum of history in Raleigh tickets $10 per person but just five dollars for students Thomas Jefferson and John Adams live in Raleigh November 20. Hope to see you there. North Carolina is changing not just day-to-day but outward to our minute to minute and 2nd to 2nd, how can you keep up with the changes, especially the ones that affect you, your family, your home, your job, make the John lock foundation and Carolina Journal part of your social media diet on Facebook like the John Locke foundation like Carolina Journal. Follow us on Twitter at John lock in the sea and at Carolina. Journal news, insights and analysis you'll find nowhere else.

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Journal did you know you can now advance freedom and free markets just by shopping with Amazon it's true online shopping is now a great way to support the John lock foundation just shot using the Amazon smile program and designate the work foundation to receive a portion of your purchase amount that's right you shop and Amazon donates money to ask the John Locke foundation.

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It's the same Amazon you know same products same prices is much better. Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to pass the John Locke foundation to try and be sure to designate the Locke foundation is a nonprofit, you want to support. It's that easy.

So now not only will you enjoy what you buy will also support freedom. Don't forget log on to smile.amazon.com today by something nice and help defend freedom. Support the John Locke foundation logo back Carolina Journal radio I'm in scope, time North Carolina lawmakers recently learned that three people die in the state each day from opioid abuse and that number might soon jump from 3 to 4 Republican State Sen. John Alexander aimed a basic question about opioids at Dr. Susan Kinsella growth of the state division of Public health criticism you have had of this opioid thing for some time, is that people talk about opioids.

We don't know the street names of these things and you know and I wish somebody would ask if you have any opioids in your medicine And though I don't used to have some Percocet anyone had met up some back surgery a few years ago, but I could probably prescribed about seven or eight pills took two or three of them and then the rest of them. I left up in the little container will we've had people go in and out of the house on different things. The containers they are. The pills are going.

I didn't take him somebody within 5 miles when in my medicine cabinet and got so is there a reason maybe the top five or 10.

These are opioids, people why you doing that. I think you made an excellent point, and I think that's something we need to increasingly do because you write using the word opioids is a broad term and making sure that people are aware that rituximab Percocet, Vicodin, oxycodone, oxycodone content using all of his names and we did you do that in some of our more community-based presentations little easier to use the term opioids here, but I think your point is well taken and we need to think about how he uses names Republican representative Michael speciality offered state health officials. Another idea one of the biggest things I think would help is what you got denoted and here is making people aware of where they can take these drugs. I had a family member passed away a couple months ago and it was probably a week ago that I finally found someone I could get rid of that whole bag of whole pile of drugs you know all kinds of opioids and all kinds of stuff you know from previous hip surgeries and things like that that we collected from her house and is like okay we like what I do with this and it took me a while to find out. I mean, I went pharmacies and said hey you guys take the stuff back and they said no. Finally one of them told me to try Police Department or Sheriff's Department and I finally did find somewhere to get rid of it, but I think letting you know somehow get the word out to the public that with avenues to get rid of the stuff so they don't they have to throw the garbage he let it sit in their medicine cabinets and everybody's got extra drugs so I think somehow we gotta get the word out. Let people know where they can get rid of the stuff. Eli actually has a safety initiative which is initiative may permit around Dante back and go to their website they have a list of common locations that we absolutely need to do more to permit make sure people are aware of this location been listening to highlights from our recent legislative hearing on North Carolina's problem with opioid abuse term with more Carolina Journal radio really influence you either have it or you don't and at the John Locke foundation. We do, and that's not bluster in a private survey of more than 250 North Carolina political insiders 87% said we influence them either a great deal a good amount. So while others talk and complain.

We get to work providing research solutions and help our team analyzes the pressing issues of the day jobs, healthcare, education, and more. We look for effective ways to give you more freedom, more options, more control.

Our goal is to transform North Carolina into a growing, thriving economic powerhouse that is the envy of every other state are researchers actually help policymakers make decisions and ensure you keep more of what you earn. Expand your choice of schools for your kids. Widen your job opportunities and improve your access to doctors. The recipe for stability and a bright future. The John Locke foundation were dedicated to making North Carolina first and freedom were dedicated to you.

Welcome back Carolina Journal radio I'm Ashoka North Carolina recently returned political party labels to all elections involving judges, but there's still an ongoing debate about the best way to place judges on the bench. A legislative committee recently heard a history lesson on the topic from James Drennan, professor at the UNC school of Government. Drennan started with survey results showing what people want from their judges want them to be in addition to knowing the law, which is a pretty good thing for judge. They want them to be honest, fair, unbiased good managers, hard-working consistent, speedy people want those kinds of judges, but they don't agree about is how to select judges to do that to be that person. They don't know there's no agreement universally about how to weigh the various qualities how to even assess the various qualities these days. The question of what the role of a judges is not a settled question and then this is the big question in any selection system. How do you balance the need to hold the judge accountable and yet promote a system where the judge can be independent to do the hard work of judging that often involves making people mad when the law says one thing and the popular opinion sort of moves in a different place as the hard thing for judges. Drennan says any system of selecting judges needs to deal with some basic challenges you gotta figure out how you get candidates. How you get the best people to want to be this really important work of being the judge anything about that.

How do you provide enough security to get the right people to apply because what you're doing is asking lawyers who have careers to decide to give it up to take this job and that's that's you all know, much like your run for office.

You know what it's like to think about losing or maybe even losing more will if it but if it's your if it's your career, your vocation and your source of income doubles down on the level of analysis you do when you decide whether to jump into this pool.

Drennan reminded lawmakers that the federal government has judges appointed for life by the president with confirmation from the U.S. Senate states. On the other hand, use five different methods one of which is appointment by the executive fit similar to the federal system. Another is appointment by the legislature. States do that partisan elections seven or eight states do that nonpartisan elections about twentysomething states do that and then this is sort of confusing animal call merit selection, but if you look at all that concerned about federalism is alive and well in the state court system because no single state looks exactly like any other state. It's it's a constant experimentation at the state level and when you do when you're building your system.

You have to figure out how you going to fill vacancies how you going to fill full terms and what kind of retention system. Once you get in there that you going to in the their choices at every one of those stages.

You're listening to highlights from a recent presentation by Prof. James Drennan of the UNC school of Government. He offered more details about some of the judicial selection procedures used across the country. Appointments which is the federal model. Basically the northeastern phenomenon, some of them have terms of office with a very long terms of office like painter 16 years but but many of them have indefinite term similar to the federal system. Not all states with judicial appointments rely on the governor legislative appointment which is kind of a reaction to the executive appointment rated at the same time as a legislative appointment was adopted by Virginia and South Carolina. There, the only two states who do the in South Carolina there is a screening process in Virginia. There is no formal screening process. Most states without judicial appointments rely instead on elections.

Partisan elections began to appear in this country about the time of Andrew Jackson and, in large part, it was a reaction to view that the power being concentrated in either the legislative or the executive branch and the people wanted their site currently used in surveying Illinois Alabama, Louisiana, North Carolina for all courts. New York, Indiana, and Tennessee for the trial courts in Texas for the appellate court. That's the traditional that's the traditional understanding of partisan elections go through a party primary or other selection process when there is an election there. There parties are identified on the ballot and person gets most vote with some states use party labels for judicial races. Others do not.

In the early 20th century part of the progressive era above about 100 years ago that you all studied in school with a lot of different things begin to happen. One of them. The began to appear was that if a nonpartisan election trying again get away from the influence of the political bosses if you will to again get to the people in whatever way people were trying to do it so candidates and those systems run without party designation.

That's largely a Midwestern Western phenomenon. Although it is scattered across the country and it's the most common form of of selecting trial judges. 21 states there is no majority rule in this country when it comes to selecting and it is also used in appellate judges but not quite as much as it is at the trial court's Drennan says all of the systems of selecting judges have to answer difficult questions how do you provide dependence which is a key fact of a good court system. We learn from the British gifts that don't take judges pay and reduce it to get terms of office. And then there's some informal ways as well. How can you hold judges accountable.

There are some tools elections is one judicial standards commission exist when judges across the bounds of good behavior is a judicial standards commission that you all are familiar with the can discipline the judge judges can be prosecuted.

We had judges. Regrettably, been prosecuted for criminal conduct. Judges have standard statutes that require them to step away from the case if they have a conflict of interest. We have appellate courts to review cases we have strong media presence to provide information and the judicial evaluations that some states do all available. Drennan says there's no easy answer to the question of how to select the best judges I was talking one of my good friends and I said what when I go to talk to these people's political scientist about selecting judges and he said there ain't no good way to do it because every system has strengths and weaknesses and and and I think he's right. At some level because every system is in constant tension how much independence you want to build into the system and how much accountability do you want to build into the system because they are often in tension with each other and twitch what all states are trying to do is trying to find that sweet spot where the judges appropriately accountable with the system promotes an independence of mind that you that that classically we expect judges to so that jet states are still doing the starting 1776 is 2017 there were six or eight legislatures looking at these issues this year. They're still trying to figure out that balance, independence, accountability. That's Prof. James Drennan of the UNC school of government is discussing differences in judicial selection processes among the 50 states he delivered this message to North Carolina lawmakers there considering the same issues will return with more Carolina journal radio in a moment. Are you wondering where our country is headed while so are two of our most revered presidents spend an evening with Thomas Jefferson and John Adams. That's right, Jefferson and Adams visit the Museum of history in Raleigh for a debate on the future of the United States by Jefferson and Adams think about national security, foreign engagement and the role of government. While time is passed since they let our country the issues and challenges, endure its living history, living history events during two incredible actors Monday evening November 20.

Brought to you by the organization dedicated to advancing freedom, the John Locke foundation find details@johnlocke.org that's John Locke with an E.org or call 866 JL FINFO Monday evening November 20 at the Museum of history in Raleigh tickets $10 per person but just five dollars for students Thomas Jefferson and John Adams live in Raleigh November 20. Hope to see you there. Welcome back to Carolina journal radio I'm down to Martinez North Carolina will spend roughly $9 billion this fiscal year on educating kids in kindergarten through high school, 39% or $3.90 of every $10. That's actually in the general operating budget for the state, but now there are growing questions over how the state is up all this money and those questions have resulted in the creation of a legislative task force and our next guest, Dr. Terry stoops is falling very closely what this task force is doing its held its first meeting.

He of course is the vice president for research, director of education studies for the Locke foundation. Terry will combat thank you so first about what has legislators so concerned, I think we've been pretty much as spending the money the same way for many many years. Well a few years ago. Legislators ask the program evaluation division of the legislature to look at the way that we fund schools.

What kind of mechanisms are in place for distributing state funds and they release that report in November 2016.

I think they were surprised about what they saw in that report just how confusing the lack of transparency. The lack of accountability. The is in the way that we fund schools in North Carolina. I think they were just as confused as all of us have been with the mechanisms that we have in place to fund school so fast forward a year later since that report and they've held their first meeting. At that very first day of November, you been following this what transpired. This first meeting of the task force was just a really an overview of the program evaluation division reports and the report is really what is is bringing all of this out by the report had two recommendations after it examined all the different ways that we fund education in North Carolina just just as a brief overview we have 37 allotment category.

Just think of it as 37 boxes that we put different amounts of money in four schools and then we send it to these schools in these 37 boxes and then they can spend some in some ways can spend some in other ways, so he is really confusing way of funding schools. In fact, that I've heard people that work at Department of Public instruction sometimes admit that they don't quite get how this all works together but so they made two recommendations.

The first is just to blow up the system and find a new, better, more transparent, more countable way to fund public school or to make adjustments.

The existing system perhaps collapsed.

Some of these categories have fewer boxes of funds for school districts to use. Maybe make a little easier to trace how the money goes to the school districts and then how it spends Terry some folks believe that wealthier counties are receiving a lot more money to educate kids than some of our poorer counties and that a common refrain that you hear from people on all sides of the ideological spectrum is accurate.

Well according to the report.

There is some evidence to back up the idea that the wealthier counties are doing a better job of of getting money from the system than some of our poorer counties. It's a kind of inequality that really a lot of legislators are paying attention to because a lot of the leadership in the North Carolina Gen. assembly come from rural communities and if they feel like the urban communities and suburban communities are getting more money therefore is going to want to pay attention to that. So I think that's one of the biggest concerns legislators have is that the money that we spend on education in North Carolina is not going to those counties that need it most.

And to a lot of legislators they believe that the ones that needed the most are in rural communities. Before we talk about some of those ideas and his question of do we block the whole system so to speak, or do we try to just to change what we have where the money comes from. It's not just eight dollars because of the overall education pot rights.

We have around two thirds of our money come from the states and the states really distributes the money. According to this allotment system that they have in place so they have a great deal of control how the money is delivered to the school districts in the federal government provides between 10 and 15% of the funding and then the rest come from local tax dollars County tax dollars. So that's one of the reasons why this is such an important issue because the state government control so much of the education running in the state that the system that was set up in the 1930s to try to make sure that the funding was distributed. North Carolina counties are needed the most.

So that idea the idea that the state pays most of the bill is not really an issue here.

The issue is how is that money distributed to the school districts and is being distributed in an equitable way. Let's talk more about that than because you set out that really two options to either do something completely different or to try to reform what were doing right now what your recommendation between Austin. My recommendation would be good to go to a weighted student funding model in this basic lease looks at the student says, what does this individual student need and attaches dollar amounts to those student needs. So, for example, all students would be there will be a base amount of money for each students and then depending on that student's needs additional money would be added, let's say that there are in a low income County where they have special needs or there in a career and technical education program and that money would be stacked on top of that base amount so that each students would have a pot of money set aside for their needs. Specifically, rather than just entire categories of money being sent to the district.

A lot of people call this backpack funding because this is in essence making sure that each of the kids in the district have the amount of money attached to them that they would need to be successful. Help us understand how that approach the weighted approach is different from how the money is allocated today. Well, the student weighted funding model looks at the individual student and looks of what their individual student needs are the current way that we fund money is basically to look at large enrollment trends. So for example for special needs students. How many are in the district and then it restricts the amount of money depending on what percentage of special needs students you have up to 12 3/4%. So basically, instead of looking at large groups of students and how many of those students are in the district and then how much money goes with that large group of students. This just a way to fund the individual student and to recognize that each student is different and has different needs and funding whole categories of students is really not a wise way to go about funding education Terry what you're talking about really make sense is if you explain it but honest is very complex, looking at every student as an individual and I think we would want that, but how you go about that in a bureaucracy.

We seem states already implemented and that's the really great thing about weighted student funding is that we would be doing something that states like California, for example, aren't already doing and there are great models out there.

The real question is how much money would we attached for those various student needs. In other words, let's say they come from low income County how much additional funding would we give to that students for being in a low income County.

Those are matters of percentages and how much money is available and how much can be distributed so that's really where the argument is going to come from, how much should we give for those things, not necessarily should we fund and that's likely to be a big big argument because when you're talking about the state legislature.

You have who are representing literally every single community in the state. So if we were to actually go about this big change. Would this be something that we can do quickly. Or is this a multi-year effort.

This is to be a multiyear effort, but fortunately we've taken the first step in the John Locke foundation's been talking about this for years and were really encouraged to see legislators taken the first step to more rational, transparent and accountable way of funding public schools women talking with Dr. Terry Steve Terry think that's all the time we have for the program this week. If you're listening, I'm Donna Martinez. Join us again next week for more Carolina journal radio Carolina journal radio is a program of the John learn more about the John Locke foundation including donations support programs like Carolina journal radio send email to development John Locke call 1866 jail left info 166-553-4636 journal radio nation airline is maintaining all opinions on this program nearly mentioned on the show or other foundation airline sponsored radio again


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