North Carolina has 115 public school districts. Many look to the state’s two largest systems – Wake County and Charlotte/Mecklenburg – for ideas and innovations. Recently, however, Charlotte/Meck and Wake have been the focus not for innovations but for controversy over their policies on neighborhood schools and economic diversity. John Locke Foundation Education Policy Analyst Terry Stoops separates fact from fiction about whether or not busing kids to ‘balance’ schools based on household economics leads to greater student achievement. He also explains the approaches used by each of the two systems. Next, Senate Democrats have unveiled a new tax package designed to raise state government revenue by more than $500 million each year. Senate leaders say the package also represents a major reform of North Carolina’s tax system. You’ll hear arguments favoring the plan from Sens. Dan Clodfelter, D-Mecklenburg, and David Hoyle, D-Gaston. Republican legislative leaders, however, are not particularly thrilled to see the Senate Democrats’ ideas for shifting the state’s tax burden. Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, and House Minority Leader Paul Stam, R-Wake, offer their critiques. That’s followed by a look at the John Locke Foundation’s recommendations for tax reform. JLF has argued for years that North Carolina needs to reform its tax system, but that doesn’t mean Locke’s Fiscal Policy Analyst, Joe Coletti, likes what he sees in the Senate plan. Coletti explains why senators took the wrong approach to tax reform with a plan that raises taxes by more than $1 billion over the next two years. And finally, Michael Sanera discusses key issues affecting local governments and recommends that local officials use their considerable power more wisely and with an eye toward individual freedom and prosperity. Sanera, research director for JLF, also explains why and how government policies contribute to a lack of affordable housing in some communities.