After cuts from the Great Recession, public school supporters in North Carolina hoped school funding would mirror the economic recovery. Instead of rebuilding our schools literally and figuratively, income taxes for individuals and corporations were slashed beginning in 2013. In addition to per pupil spending remaining below pre-Recession levels, major policy changes undermined support for public schools (see video above).
Public school advocates worked hard to elect more pro-public school lawmakers into office in 2018, and to make Governor Cooper’s veto relevant again by eliminating supermajority control in both chambers of the NCGA.
Public school advocates were hopeful that legislation important to them would be discussed among their representatives. Bills were filed, but never left the filing cabinet.
Public school advocates believed that collective action would push five legislative goals into legislative chambers for debate and votes. Those bills still didn’t leave the filing cabinet.
Public school advocates looked forward to meaningful bipartisan budget discussions since education is more than half of the budget. This did not happen.
Public school advocates rely on having the Governor’s veto sustained to force meaningful bipartisan budget discussions. Some representatives who claim to support public schools and committed to May 1 goals are now getting cold feet and considering sacrificing a budget that better supports our schools with a budget that includes pet projects for their districts in exchange for voting to override the veto.
Public school advocates need to turn up the heat and continue preparing to vote for more public school advocates in 2020.