Falling Behind in North Carolina: Public Education
As the Budget and Tax Center has written elsewhere, the legislative targets sent to each subcommittee on appropriations represent the single largest year-to-year decline in nearly 30 years. This week we have seen the impacts of these targets line item-by-line item.
But what do these cuts mean for the state’s ability to meet the needs of North Carolina’s growing and changing population?
Addressing this shortfall with cuts alone and no consideration of revenue will fail to support North Carolina’s nascent economic recovery. The resulting shortfall of services will translate into very real challenges for North Carolina families and communities. It will also reduce the state’s ability to meet key long-term promises, like educating our children for the jobs of the future and ensuring health and economic opportunity for all North Carolina communities.
Below are some details from the latest House Budget recommendations that contrast the decline in state appropriations since the Great Recession with the growth in the affected population. It doesn’t have to be this way. North Carolina policymakers can eliminate tax breaks and raise reform-minded revenue to close the budget gap, meeting the demand for services across the state. North Carolinians should call for more responsible, bolder leadership.
Total State public school spending would take a nosedive from pre-recession levels under the House education budget proposal, even as more and more children enter North Carolina classrooms each year.
The House proposal would cut $628.8 million in absolute dollars (not adjusted for inflation) from FY08 levels.