As legislators prepare to return to Raleigh for their short-session in May, many are finding it increasingly difficult to talk up the positive aspects of the Republican-crafted state budget.
At the Joint Legislative Education Oversight Committee Meeting on Thursday, superintendents from Alleghany, Jones, Lee and Winston-Salem/Forsyth counties detailed how state budget cuts and mandatory reversions were making it increasingly difficult to provide students with a solid education.
So, Stokes County Republican Rep. Bryan Holloway tried a different approach – asking the school leaders wasn’t it true that their budgets have been shrinking since 2008, long before the Republicans took control of the General Assembly.
Alleghany County Superintendent Jeff Cox didn’t want to play the blame game. He said his district was “at a tipping point” and needed this legislature to take a hard look at minimizing the discretionary cuts.
Lee County Superintendent Jeff Moss reminded Holloway that this should not be a partisan issue:
“You have the power among yourselves sitting in these buildings to address this issue, and you are the leaders right now in North Carolina,” said Moss.
Senator Jerry Tillman (Randolph Co. – R.) praised the four superintendents for making “great progress” even with fewer resources. But he also reminded them that they were fortunate, as the cuts made to higher education were even deeper.
Tillman later acknowledged there was some sentiment among the leadership to address the discretionary cuts in the upcoming session, but it remains unclear how they would do that.
To hear a portion of Thursday’s two-hour hearing, click below: