This morning’s Winston-Salem Journal lays it out pretty clearly in an editorial on the matter of funding for the University of North Carolina. The paper says it is time for Gov. McCrory to stand up to his budget director and conservative political moneybags, Art Pope (who has launched a new and public effort to forestall needed growth in university spending).
This is from the editorial:
“Pope, who has his own conservative political constituency, has long been a UNC critic. The UNC operations request alone is for 4.6 percent. And while Pope had instructed state agencies to keep increase requests to 2 percent or less, the university’s response must be considered in historical context.
Over the last five years, the UNC operational budget has been cut by hundreds of millions of dollars. UNC officials have found efficiencies to cover some of those lost funds, but they’ve also weakened the education they deliver.
Additionally, students have been hit with big tuition and fee increases while state funding has dropped. All of this in a state where the constitution guarantees a university education that is as close to free as is ‘practicable’….
McCrory is caught in the middle here. On one side, Pope is his budget director. On the other, most members of the Republican-controlled UNC Board of Governors are his allies, too. And the Republican-controlled General Assembly put them in.
Pope is also contradicting McCrory, poor-mouthing state finances while the governor boasts of a ‘Carolina Comeback,’ an economy recovering quickly under his leadership.
As for the repairs and renovations UNC requested and which Pope dismissed in a memo, remember: McCrory made infrastructure improvements an administration cornerstone.
With the economy improving, it’s time to begin rebuilding the UNC system. The UNC board realizes that. McCrory must as well.”
Lets hope McCrory heeds the advice and that he rejects the idea of installing Pope as the head of the UNC system — a possibility that’s been percolating in the Raleigh rumor mill for sometime.
Read the entire editorial by clicking here.