McCrory claims NC education budget largest in history (Fact check)

McCrory ed summitGov. Pat McCrory unveiled his latest vision for public education this morning at the NC Chamber of Commerce’s Education Summit. The plan includes a $30 million “Education Innovation Fund” that would come from federal Race to the Top grant money and a call to reduce excessive testing.

McCrory also reiterated his belief that funding for North Carolina’s public education system was not cut in the budget he signed into law last week.

Beginning with an assertion that protestors and newspaper writers are wrong about the facts around the education budget, McCrory said that “at $7.8 billion, this is the largest K-12 budget in North Carolina’s history.”

Actually, that’s not at all an accurate representation of what the education budget looks like.

As I reported previously, North Carolina spent $7,714,429,569 on K-12 public education in the 2008 fiscal year budget — the last budget to be adopted prior to the onset of the Great Recession. But when you adjust those numbers for inflation, that amount would be $8,402,393,062 in today’s dollars.

At a total of $7,867,960,649, the 2014 fiscal year budget will spend $535 million less than the 2008 inflation-adjusted budget. And the 2014 budget fails to keep up with the needs of a growing student population. The Office of State Budget and Management estimates that $7,984,924,757 is actually needed to maintain current service levels of education.

So while the 2014 budget would spend more than the previous year’s budget in absolute dollars, the appropriation isn’t enough, even under the estimates of the Governor’s own budget office, to maintain services at FY2013 levels.

Gov. McCrory also repeated a claim he made as he signed his tax reform package into law that teachers making between $40,000 and $45,000 annually will actually get 1% of their earnings back, thanks to tax reform.

But according to tables that accompanied the tax reform bill, citizens don’t get a 1% tax break until they have a household income of $250,000.

McCrory also said that teachers are not able to get raises in this budget because of high Medicaid costs. He did not address the fact, however, that state revenue availability was reduced by $684 million over the biennium as the result of tax cut package he signed into law. 

When talking about the state of teacher pay, McCrory said that North Carolina ranked “in the 40’s” in 2010, just as we do now.

Again, however, this does not comport with the facts. North Carolina actually ranked 27th in teacher pay in 2005-06 and has dropped to 46th in the nation in less than 10 years.

Governor McCrory took no questions at the conclusion of his remarks.


  1. James Protzman

    August 1, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Another private meeting with special interests. Another pack of lies.

  2. Syd

    August 1, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    Pat just can’t help himself anymore. His cookie administration is such a farce. Down is up. Up is down.
    Hello, Mississippi and South Carolina. We’ve arrived.

  3. Doug

    August 1, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    So you spent 500 words to verify that what he said is true. What a waste of time. Now if he were getting all wonky and had been referring to inflation adjustments and hopes and dreams…blah blah blah….then you might have a valid point. Then you go on to trash the funding that Medicaid (one of the progresso’s pet programs) drains from other categories as if you now think it is a bad thing. I guess the progressive view is that the government has unlimited funds and should not have priortize. That makes my argument that you guys see each dollar a person earns as a government dollar first and if they are nice they will let you have a portion…(cue the State Anthem of the USSR).

    One point I have….were there blog posts like this in the 2000-2008 time frame when the liberals were in charge and doing exactly the same thing to teachers and the educrat complex?

  4. Debbie

    August 1, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Doug, please reread the article … you don’t think the Governor’s “all wonky” either trying to spin the numbers or just doesn’t know what he is talking about? I didn’t see that anyone “trashed” Medicaid in the post. The author simply reported that “McCrory also said that teachers are not able to get raises … because of high Medicaid costs.” Blaming “broken Medicaid,” as he calls it, is he answer to everything and if that is one of his “pet programs” then you would think we would see more progress in repairing it. As far as blog posts in the 2000-2008 timeframe, I couldn’t say, but most often the posts you see now are in reference to the Governor’s misrepresentation of the facts as much as the issue and whether the misresprentation on his part is intentional or unknowing – both of which are deeply concerning. I agree with Syd … everything seems upside down.

  5. George Greene

    August 1, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    Certainly, in addition to correcting for inflation, THE LEDE ought also to correct for population
    growth — ALL these statistics should be in terms of PER PUPIL $$ !!

  6. Jack

    August 1, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    That’s not it Doug. There are people who believe that together we can do more than individually. That by taxing the poor further into poverty and the middle class into poverty maybe there’s a better way to fix what we’re being told is so broken. No evidence has been presented by the NCGA or the Governor that the state is broken and needs favoritism of tax dollars to fund a totally new school system. Beside if the school system was so broken why didn’t the NCGA make effort to fix it rather than move to create a separate and unequal educational system?

  7. Harold Jurewicz Sr.

    August 1, 2013 at 5:42 pm

    It bothers me to no end that I voted for this man. I now will work as hard as I can to see that he never sees another term in office…anywhere. As a retired Marine and current elementary school principal, I find it disgusting what his politics are doing to education in NC. He is hurting the school systems, teachers and most of all students. He has removed and chance of upward mobility without leaving the classroom. And the great teachers want to be in the classroom. My pay has gone down the last four years in a row, I suspect it will happen again this year under this administration, it is no better than the last administration!

  8. Doug

    August 1, 2013 at 6:23 pm

    I guess you have not been watching the news. The state auditor has had a field day, the Rural Center rats are leaving the ship, and we just await the next report on inefficient government to come out so we can clean it up. Yes we can do some things better together, once the state has been cleaned up and streamlined and economic activity resumes in earnest then maybe we can afford to do the ever present “more”. All these calls for “more” seem to forget the dire financial straits we are in….high unemployment for example does not jive with “more” government for example.

  9. David

    August 1, 2013 at 10:07 pm

    I think it’s interesting how the governor gave his top administrators a 12% raise when we are cutting back on so many other things!! That Goes straight to his character!!

  10. Price

    August 1, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Seriously? You’re pointing to inflation to show that this budget isn’t the highest ever, even though it’s clearly astoundingly high?

    To maintain the current service levels of education? Here’s your problem: you’re not getting any bang for the buck. The state dumps more and more money into your hands and you produce zero results. Where’s the equivalent rise in how the students are doing? The public education system sucks. The numbers are lousy.

    When you’re asked to quantify results you moan about how teaching to tests isn’t good. What is good? Churning out half-illiterate children? I’m seriously disgusted by this behavior. I’m disgusted at seeing adults use children to fund their careers while failing those children year after year.

    Each and every teacher who fails to achieve quantifiable results in their classrooms should be fired. And the budget should shrink further until there’s quantifiable growth shown for the monies invested.

  11. Jack

    August 2, 2013 at 9:19 am


    An inefficient government, today’s NCGA, can’t clean up what you believe to be an inefficient government. It’s an oxymoron which is very much the way the GOP thinks.

  12. E. Miller

    August 2, 2013 at 9:44 am

    McCrory happily gave his people a nice raise but after six years teachers still have NOTHING! Plus teachers and assistants are losing their jobs right and left! Disgusting! What a selfish, greedy bum!

  13. Doug Gibson

    August 2, 2013 at 10:06 am


    Okay, I can tell you have a disdain for “facts” when you won’t even allow inflation into a discussion of year-to-year comparisons of government spending (I mean, why stop at “biggest budget ever”? Why not say, “Ten times as much as we spent in 1950,” or “One hundred times as much as we spent in 1910”? They’re all equally meaningless.)

    But you make some assertions in your comment that need backing up. So:

    1) Prove that, in per-pupil spending, adjusted for inflation, North Carolina has “dumped” “more and more money” into public schools over the past twenty years.

    2) Prove that the state public schools have produced “zero” results, or no rise in achievement, over the past twenty years.

    3) Prove that any acknowledged, appointed, or elected leader of any organization of teachers in this state for the past twenty years has ever said that assessment of student progress by examination needs to be abolished, or isn’t a valuable tool in assessing schools’ performance.

    Once you’ve proven any of those points, we can have a discussion. Until then, the rest of us are going to assume—with some justification—that you’re just making things up.

  14. George Greene

    August 2, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    @Doug we don’t say that the government has unlimited funds and doesn’t have to prioritize. We say that it should prioritize the health and education of children OVER tax cuts for the rich.

  15. Bill W

    August 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Well said George.
    Poor John Lockers state that the only valid comparison on education spending is to compare the absolute dollars each year. Gee, so if we have 1 student receiving $1,000 one year and the next year we have 100 students and the funding is $2,000 – that a 100% increase in spending, right? Legisaltive leaders will go around the state saying that they doubled education spending.
    Appartently Price was absent the day they covered math.

  16. Emil

    August 2, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    High School Graduation Rates keep going up in our “Broken” public school system.

    2005-2006 68.3%
    2006-2007 69.5%
    2007-2008 70.3%
    2008-2009 71.8%
    2009-2010 74.2%
    2010-2011 77.9%
    2011-2012 80.4%


  17. david esmay

    August 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    @Price, as a percentage of the general fund, spending on education is at it’s lowest point since 1968.

  18. Pam

    August 2, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Why do people not involved in education talk about teaching children as if it is equal to a factory assembly line? Educators in public schools work with what they are given. What they are given is a mirror image of society. Throwing money at a problem does not guarantee success. Testing does not indicate the educational “growth” of a student. Teaching students is an art form not a business measured by numbers created by people who have no idea what happens in a public school classroom.

  19. Alex

    August 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm

    As usual david, your numbers are not correct ! It’s even a larger percentage than the previous budget !

  20. Bertis Downs

    August 3, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Harold: good points all. Fact-based, personal, apt. Please put that into an Op-Ed in the Charlotte Observer or the N & O. More people need to read it.

  21. Alex

    August 4, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Harold may need to go back into the classroom and review his basic sentence structure again. I hope he wasn’t using that with his students.

  22. Madeleine Watt

    August 4, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Doug, as long as you insist on watching and quoting Fox (or clones), you will be misinformed. The present government is dismantling education, healthcare, the environment, protections for the poor and disabled so they can privatize everything which lines pockets of a very few, very rich supporters like Art Pope.
    I am so sorry that you feel free to spread political nonsense without apparent regard for anyone looking at real facts or talking to teachers, aides, environmentalists, anti-frackers, non-corporate water systems, women, the poor, the young and old, the disabled…

  23. Madeleine Watt

    August 4, 2013 at 9:56 am

    Gee, before the Repub./Tea take over, NC had one of the highest success rates in the nation. Several areas had over a 90% graduation rate (public schools) so many people are or were doing something right.

    We also found millions of dollars of waste in contract completion ($$$ paid even when jobs weren’t completed) under cronyism by “good old boys”, We were respected instead of being embarrassed to think NC was now the equivalent of Alabama, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi who bring shame on the entire nation. Good Lord Trolls…read something from an international source.

  24. Charles Cotter

    August 4, 2013 at 2:27 pm

    I am a teacher in North Carolina. In the last 5 years I have had a 1.2% pay raise. I work 50+ hours a week during school time and probably 20 hours a week during the summer. His words fell on “death ears”. 90% of the teachers work there tails off to be excellent teachers. However, many are now deciding to leave because of the political crap. Politicians slap teachers on the back and tell us we are great, yet, they don’t understand to keep this you must pay them well. We are 46th out of 50 in the US in teacher pay. Next summer it will be lower. No one listens to the teachers. We are the reason why many high schools are excellent. However, you need to pay them. We deserve a raise. It will be interesting to see what the retirement rate will be this time next year. I know a few that have left and are planning to leave due to this political crap. If you want to reward us, give us a pay raise. It is fair!

  25. Doug

    August 5, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I don’t watch Fox that often….but do stay away from all the drive by media outlets for sure. As far as economics I can say I am VERY well informed. Unfortunately I do not subscribe to the government as the crux for creating all economic activity as you do so we will always be at an impasse where you are the “misinformed” one.

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