Politics & Government

Want to get more engaged in your community? Check out Civics 101

Civics 101 takes you inside meetings of the Charlotte City Council and other governing bodies in Mecklenburg County.
Civics 101 takes you inside meetings of the Charlotte City Council and other governing bodies in Mecklenburg County. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

How much do you know about your local government?

Who sets your tax rates? Who pays for schools? Who’s in charge of courts?

For nearly a quarter-century, a program called Civics 101 has answered those kind of questions.

Civics 101 is a five-week program sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. Registration is open for new classes that start Feb. 25.

The 24th edition of the course starts with an introduction to city government. Other classes cover county courts, the school board and county government. The course ends March 26 with graduation and a class on the local media.

The cost is $60 and includes a catered graduation dinner.

Each class is taught by a veteran of local government. Former Mayor Richard Vinroot, for example, will lead the class on city government. Former Commissioner Karen Bentley will talk about the county. Chief District Judge Regan Miller is among those who will tackle the courts.

Since its debut in January 1997, hundreds of people have taken the course. Some, including former Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts and state Sen. Joyce Waddell, have gone on to public office.

Here’s the Civics schedule:

Feb. 25: City government.

Mar. 6: County courts.

Mar. 12: Board of education.

Mar. 19: County government.

Mar. 26: Graduation and the press.

Jim Morrill, who grew up near Chicago, covers state and local politics. He’s worked at the Observer since 1981 and taught courses on North Carolina politics at UNC Charlotte and Davidson College.
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