State delays decision on Governor's School

July 8, 2011 

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CORRECTION

The July 8 Under the Dome column incorrectly reported a statement made by Republican congressional candidate Vernon Robinson in his 2006 campaign against Democratic Rep. Brad Miller. Robinson made an issue of the fact that Miller was childless.

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The State Board of Education will wait until next month to decide the future of the Governor's School, a summer enrichment program for gifted students.

The state budget ends funding for the school. If students had to pay their own way, it would cost them $2,100 each.

Earlier state cuts mean that students already pay $500 each.

The state Department of Public Instruction no longer has staff to plan for next summer, work that should start now, said Mary Watson, director of exceptional children and the former Governor's School director. Information packets would go to schools next month.

The colleges that house the Governor's School, Salem College and Meredith College, already are looking for other ways to use their buildings next summer, she said.

The board was not ready to give up on the school and will see if alumni are interested in raising money privately to keep it going.

Robinson to run again

Vernon Robinson, a veteran conservative activist from Winston-Salem, said he will run for the 13th Congressional District seat now held by Democrat Brad Miller.

Robinson is the second Republican to announce his candidacy for the seat, since the GOP legislature made public redistricting plans that would change the district from Democratic-leaning to Republican-leaning.

Nathan Tabor, a Kernersville businessman, has also announced his plans to run. Phil Berger Jr., a district attorney from Rockingham and the son of the state Senate leader, has said he is considering it. A number of other names are also being mentioned.

Robinson ran against Miller in 2006, in a particularly nasty campaign in which he made an issue of Miller's wife being barren. He also suggested that Miller had socialistic tendencies because he attended the London School of Economics.

"The new 13th is a dream district for Vernon Robinson's rematch against Congressman Brad Miller," said his campaign director, former Guilford County Commissioner Steve Arnold. "It includes five whole counties and parts of nine counties stretching from Forsyth to Franklin. It is a solid Republican district whose citizens share Robinson's conservative values."

A former Forsyth County alderman, Robinson ran unsuccessfully for superintendent of public instruction in 1996, for state Senate in 1998, for state House in 2002, and for the 5th Congressional District seat in 2004. In the 2004 race, he ran an ad in which the face of one of his opponents, now GOP Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, morphed into that of Hillary Clinton.

Ellmers on ad limits

Freshman Republican U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers appears to have found an issue she can sink her teeth into.

In an appearance on Fox Business this week, Ellmers lambasted the Obama administration's efforts to combat childhood obesity by placing limits on advertising for high-sugar, high-fat foods featuring cartoon characters.

Ellmers, a nurse from Dunn who represents the 2nd District, said she had been exposed to ads featuring Tony the Tiger her whole life, and that she's doing just fine.

"We need to be creating jobs in America, not targeting the food industry for their advertising," Ellmers said. "It's up to the parents to make choices for their children."

lynn.bonner@newsobserver.com or 919-829-4821

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