• 61°

What lawmakers did to the schools

RALEIGH — In the aftermath of this year’s legislative session, public education supporters and GOP lawmakers have been fighting to define the narrative about what the legislature did or didn’t do to public education.
That legislators made a number of significant policy changes affecting the public schools, including eliminating teacher tenure and allowing vouchers for private schooling, is not in dispute.
What those changes mean for the future is.

Teachers groups say the changes will undermine public school funding and cause good teachers to leave the profession; advocates of the changes say they will give parents more options and allow schools to fire bad teachers.
The bigger battle involves the state budget, its funding of education and what that will mean for the public schools moving forward.
Education officials and teachers argue that schools will not only be forced to eliminate teaching assistant jobs, as called for in the budget, but also teaching positions and other services.
GOP legislators who helped craft the budget call the predictions of calamity more of the same carping from the education establishment and Democrats. They point to figures showing education spending rising by almost 4 percent, even while a separate comparison including inflation and student enrollment shows a 2 percent cut.
The numbers may not support some pending calamity. They do show that North Carolina has entered a slow slog of less support for public education.
The left and right have been battling over comparisons between spending levels from the past two years.

Looking at the numbers over a longer horizon provides a more unsettling picture.
Prior to the Great Recession, in the 2007-08 fiscal year, North Carolina legislators budgeted $7.71 billion for the public schools, $2.63 billion for the public universities and $938 million for the community colleges.
Six years later, state support for the public schools is $7.87 billion, or $154 million more; public universities $2.58 billion, or $43 million less; and community colleges $1.02 billion, or $83 million more.
Setting aside the issue of rising enrollment, just an examination of inflation shows the extent of the funding slide.
That $7.71 billion in 2007 dollars for K-12 is the equivalent of $8.69 billion today, or $820 million less than public schools are now receiving. The $2.62 billion in 2007 dollars to the public universities is the equivalent of $2.96 billion in current dollars, or $374 million less than they are now receiving. One reduction would equal almost 10 percent, the other over 10 percent.
Republican legislators point out that most of those cuts took place before they took power in 2011. That’s true.
But the Democratic-penned budgets that preceded them, in 2009 and 2010, had federal stimulus dollars to backfill the cuts. The federal money ran out a couple of years ago. GOP lawmakers have chosen to put only a portion of recovering tax collections toward restoring public education budgets.
The chickens have come home to roost.
The sky may not be falling, but the squawking is hardly confined to the Chicken Littles.
Scott Mooneyham writes for Capitol Press Association.

Comments

Comments closed.

Business

Rowan-Cabarrus Community College unveils tenants, training partners at Advanced Technology Center

Crime

Blotter: Salisbury man charged with drug, assault crimes

Local

City of Salisbury to resume normal operations, return to in-person council meetings

Local

Dreams of flight become reality at ASCEND summer camp

Local

Base salary for SPD officers increases to nearly $42,000 next week

News

‘He loved people:’ Larry Ford leaves behind legacy of legal achievement, community service

Local

Statewide pickleball tournament at Catawba College in September expected to draw hundreds of visitors

Local

Resources still available for those dealing with lingering impacts of pandemic

Education

Shoutouts: Misenheimer completes master’s degree in Strategic Studies from the U.S. Army War College

Education

State expands Principal of the Year to charter schools

High School

All-county baseball team: Norris Award winner Honeycutt made the most of a dozen games

Education

Partners in learning raises $3.2 million for new facility

Education

Tar Heel Boys State creates miniature government at Catawba College

News

NC medical marijuana legalization gets hearing in Senate

News

N. Carolina bill ending extra $300 benefits heads to Cooper

Coronavirus

New COVID-19 positives in Rowan at lowest point since start of pandemic

Education

Rowan Wild’s animal camp makes a comeback at Dan Nicholas Park

Coronavirus

Health officials say financial incentives helped vaccination rates; lottery drawing today

Granite Quarry

Granite Quarry adopts budget that keeps tax rate flat

Business

Airport Advisory committee endorses plans for expansion at Mid-Carolina Regional

China Grove

China Grove will celebrate 40th Farmers Day with week full of festivities

Sports

Pistons win in NBA draft lottery; Hornets will get 11th pick

Crime

Officers in Locust arrest drivers who tried to flee; one was on motorcycle reported stolen from Rowan

News

Panel OKs NC Senate budget bill; Dems pan policy provisions