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North Carolina Passes Vouchers for Spec. Ed., Poised to Expand

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Lawmakers in North Carolina gave their final vote of approval to a bill that will allow special education students to receive up to $3,000 per semester to attend a private school, according to the Associated Press.

That bill is now headed to Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, for approval.

In the meantime, the state's House and Senate have hammered out a budget deal that would create a voucher program for students from low-income families, setting aside $20 million over the next two years for those scholarships, reports WRAL.com.

The bill also does away with teacher tenure and provides no raises for teachers, which has angered the statewide teacher's union and the state superintendent.

Rodney N. Ellis, the president of the North Carolina Association of Educators, called the voucher program a "scheme that will only enrich those who seek to profit off of public schools" in a letter to the legislature on Monday, and has threatened to challenge the program's constitutionality if it is voted into law.

June Atkinson, the state's superintendent of public instruction, released a statement saying that "for the first time in my career ... I am truly worried about students in our care."

The budget is expected to receive a final vote on Wednesday and afterwards will head to the Governor, who is expected to sign it into law.

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