Voices of concern are growing louder as more and more individuals and institutions directly impacted by the new state budget signed by Gov. McCrory yesterday come to grasp what is actually in the 260 page document. As reported in the post immediately below and in this story by Sarah Ovaska on Wednesday, the list of changes buried in the fine print is long and full of significant policy decisions.
And as this story in today’s Charlotte Observer details, one of the most important and worrisome changes involves how the state funds public education:
A provision of the state budget that changes how schools are funded will put Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools at a disadvantage in recruiting talented teachers and make planning much more difficult, Superintendent Heath Morrison said.
As part of the budget signed by Gov. Pat McCrory on Thursday, the state legislature will no longer automatically fund growth in public school enrollment. Districts had long used that assumption to plan their staffing ahead of the North Carolina budget debate each summer. Now, they will have to wait until after the legislature adjourns, or later, to learn how much money they’ll receive.
“We view it as a very radical change,” Morrison said Thursday.
Charlotte-Meck isn’t the only system worried. This is from Sarah Ovaska’s story:
Also worrisome for school superintendents across the state is language that, in even-numbered years, school systems won’t receive automatic adjustments for growing student populations. That could mean rapidly growing school districts—like Wake County—won’t have guarantees their state funding will cover new students in the second-half of the state’s two year budget cycles, throwing a wrench in the budget planning process at the schools. Pressure will fall to the schools and the N.C. Department of Public Instruction to make their case to the N.C. General Assembly for those funding adjustments.
The bottom line: Notwithstanding the fig leaf provided by the confusing and inadequate teacher pay raise plan, the often-silent, ideologically-driven effort to defund and privatize public education in North Carolina continues largely unabated.