RALEIGH -- Hours after lawmakers approved the pre-K bill, the NC Court of Appeals considered whether every at risk child should be given a pre-K education. A previous lower court ruling last year called legislative restrictions to the pre-K program unconstitutional.
Two former Supreme Court justices and attorney's representing five low-income counties defended the ruling arguing that future government bodies shouldn't be able to make changes that infringe on all children's constitutional rights to a basic sound education.
"We have at-risk children from Murphy to Manteo, and the constitutional right is certainly not limited to Hoke County," said Bob Orr from the N.C. School Boards Association.
But attorney's representing the state argued there is no constitutional rights to those services and that prior rulings were specific to Hoke County and not the rest of the state.
"The trial court had no prudential basis for the relief it ordered, and exceeded its authority when it mandated pre-K services to all pre-K services on a statewide basis," said John Maddrey, an attorney for the state.
The lawsuit is the latest in the 18-year-old case known as Leandro. The three-judge panel decision is expected to be released in about 90 days.