Darts and laurels
Laurels to the pleasant surprise that came when opening construction bids for the proposed school central office. With two bids coming in $1 million or more lower than the $8.5 million estimate, the city stands to benefit from a financial break as well as a handsome building on South Main Street. The bid phase marked another hurdle cleared for the controversial project. Previously, city officials had to address environmental concerns at the site, which once housed a filling station and underground storage tanks. The proposal still needs approval from the state’s Local Government Commission for the financing and lease agreement, but the bids provided another key piece of the project, which would sit beside the Integro office complex already under construction.
Dart to financial illiteracy in America, an often overlooked problem examined in a new report from the Center for Financial Literacy at Chaplain College in Burlington, Vt. The report graded all 50 states on how well they incorporate basic principles of personal finance into their K-12 curriculum. Turns out, not very well. Only seven states earned an A — Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah and Virginia. North Carolina was among 13 states receiving a B. The report notes that North Carolina does mandate at least some personal financial instruction as a high school graduation requirement and incorporates personal finance topics into civics and economics courses. Schools shouldn’t be blamed for the nation’s lack of financial savvy, however. Parents often don’t talk about money matters with their children, or they may be poor money managers themselves.
Laurels to legislative approval of long-delayed financial compensation for victims of North Carolina’s forced sterilization program. The state budget passed this week sets aside $10 million for one-time payments to living survivors of the eugenics program that existed between 1929 and 1974. While the compensation has been debated in previous legislative sessions, this is its first formal approval. The size of individual payouts will be based on the number of verified victims who come forward. The N.C. Justice for Sterilization Victims Foundation, created by the state to study the issue, estimated last year that as many as 1,800 victims may still be alive. The size of the eventual payouts isn’t as important as official acknowledgment of the wrongs perpetrated against citizens under the forced eugenics program, which sterilized an estimated 7,600 people.