North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue. Photo courtesy of the State of North Carolina Office of Gov. Bev Perdue.

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From the Office of North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue (D), shared June 14, “In response to the claim that the General Assembly’s budget is only ‘half a percent’ different than Gov. Perdue’s proposal”:

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Republican leaders are claiming that there is little difference between the budget that the General Assembly passed and the budget that Governor Perdue proposed in February. These claims are false. All told, the Governor’s two-year budget would have invested more than a half billion dollars more in public education [Footnote 1] than the General Assembly’s budget (approximately $561 million more). [Footnote 2]

North Carolina Gov. Bev Perdue. Photo courtesy of the State of North Carolina Office of Gov. Bev Perdue.

Governor Perdue’s budget is the only plan that actually protects every single state-funded teacher and teaching assistant position. The General Assembly’s budget forces local school districts to make $322 million in cuts, which—contrary to Republican claims—will result in the layoff of thousands of teachers and teachers’ assistants.

In short, Governor Perdue’s budget made substantially greater investments in public education:

  • The General Assembly’s cuts to SmartStart and More at Four are 400 percent deeper than the reductions Governor Perdue proposed.
  • The General Assembly cuts $256.7 million more from K-12 than Governor Perdue proposed.
  • The General Assembly cuts $68.9 million more from community colleges than Governor Perdue proposed.
  • The General Assembly cuts $236.1 million more from public universities than Governor Perdue proposed.

Governor Perdue is certainly not alone in recognizing the deceptively devastating effect that the General Assembly’s budget will have [Footnote 3]:

  • Raleigh News & Observer, June 14, 2011 (Staff Editorial): “The GOP leaders claim that there’s little difference in education spending between their budget and the governor’s, but that’s deceptive. … (Republicans have) forced school districts to cut funding on their own, which might cost more than 9,000 jobs. And by cutting funding for the early childhood programs More at Four and SmartStart (both Democratic initiatives) they’ve put disadvantaged youngsters in peril of failure once they enter school.”
  • Hickory Daily Record, June 12, 2011 (Sarah Newell Williamson): “‘Even though the Senate put back the TA (teacher’s assistant) positions, they put in a discretionary reversion for the districts,’ said Barry Redmond, superintendent for Newton-Conover City Schools. ‘For us, it’s $852,000. Last year it was $603,000, which was hard enough to come up with. Although it says they’re not cutting people, we’ll be forced to. Politically, it would be much easier if they made the cuts. Don’t make the budget and then tell me to send back almost $1 million.’”
  • Sanford Herald, June 10, 2011 (Billy Ball): “Conservative advocates have touted the GOP budget as restoring full funding for teacher assistants across the state, but education leaders like (Lee County Schools Superintendent Jeff ) Moss say the discretionary and categorical cuts already made will render it impossible to save all of the positions without help. ‘In essence, they just shifted the burden to the local level to make the layoffs,’ Moss said.”
  • Letter from the Chairman of the Dare County Board of Education, June 8, 2011 (David E. Oaksmith, Jr.): “I am appalled at the degree of devastation that this budget will incur on our public school system. From the ravaging of the highly successful More at Four Program to the destructive reduction of funding for K-12, it will grease the tacks and facilitate a rapid ride to the bottom for North Carolina K-12 Education.” [Footnote 4]
  • Reasonable People (Comments of Superintendent of Montgomery County Schools), June 6, 2011 (Dr. Dale Ellis): “I hear them saying they are protecting the classroom while passing down discretionary cuts that will require this Board to cut more teachers than they claim to be ‘gifting’ us with.” [Footnote 5]
  • The Macon County News, June 2, 2011 (Christopher Carpenter): “According to Katherine Joyce, Assistant Executive Director of the N.C. Association of School Administrators, the revised budget plan increases total education spending by $250 million. ‘While on the surface this increase sounds positive, the end result will mean even deeper cuts to local schools as tough personnel decisions are passed on to school leaders,’ wrote Joyce in a letter to members sent out this week.”

[Footnote 1] “Public education” includes early childhood education, K-12, community colleges and public universities.
[Footnote 2] The numbers used in this document are all biennial numbers.
[Footnote 3]  The excerpts are quoted directly from the sources cited.
[Footnote 4] The letter, which was sent to Representative Timothy L. Spear, is available upon request.
[Footnote 5] Source: http://www.montgomery.k12.nc.us/montgomerycounty/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=311447.

Kathleen O'Nan

Kathleen O'Nan is a contributing reporter to Carolina Public Press.

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