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An editorial in the Asheville Citizen-Times provides new and damning evidence about the real world impact of the state’s FY 2014 budget for public schools.

As the editorial explains, local PTO’s and PTA’s have resorted to passing the hat in order to fund vital instructional positions in their public schools that Gov. McCrory and the General Assembly left unfunded.  

“Parent-teacher groups are caught between increased demands and reduced resources. The demands will continue to increase as long as the state abdicates its responsibility to fund the public schools properly. Read More

Dan ForestApparently sensing the political vulnerability of Gov. McCrory, North Carolina’s ambitious Lt. Governor, Dan Forest engaged in a little gratuitous headline grabbing last week by making the rather stunning/bizarre statement that he wanted North Carolina’s public school teachers to be the highest paid in the country and that there is “plenty of money in government” to effect such a change without raising taxes.

Yesterday, in response, veteran Raleigh journalist Scott Mooneyham of The Insider provided Forest with a crash course in Public Finance 101:

“Let’s dig down into the nitty-gritty of what it would take to make North Carolina public school teachers the highest-paid in the country. Read More

trackingCuts-web-600Lenoir’s The News-Topic reports that Caldwell County Schools will lose 75 positions this fall.

Forty-three teachers, 30 teacher assistants, and two instructional support positions will be cut thanks to the 2013-15 state budget.

Caldwell County superintendent Steve Stone said there will be no layoffs. The district will instead freeze hiring and leave positions vacant as staff members resign or retire. In the interim, the board will dip into its fund balance to pay those teachers, teacher assistants and instructional support staffers.

Other cuts also will impact schools this year. Class sizes will increase from one to three students per class. Funding for textbooks was cut by 77 percent, a $634,000 reduction. Funding for instructional supplies – which covers basic supplies such as paper and pencils – was cut by 51 percent, a reduction of $374,000.

Caldwell County joins a growing list of school districts that have been forced to make difficult cuts as the 2013-14 school year approaches. Read More

The NC Budget and Tax Center released a new report today showing that the two-year budget approved by state legislators and signed by Governor McCrory falls far short of what is required to meet the needs of children, working families and communities. Although the 2014 budget exceeds last year’s in overall dollars, spending falls short of what is needed in 4 of the 6 major budget areas—including public education (see the chart below). And, spending as a share of the economy is still below the 40-year average.

Instead of investing adequate resources in schools and the other building blocks of a strong and enduring economy, state lawmakers chose to make room for tax cuts for the wealthy and profitable businesses that will cost more than $2 billion over the next five years. State lawmakers could have made better choices by pursuing true tax reform that would have strengthened revenues and allowed the tax system to grow with the economy.  That would have put North Carolina on a stronger path to recovery.  Instead, they chose to go in the opposite direction. Read More

(This post has been updated to include a link to another story documenting local education cuts).
That muffled roar you’re beginning to hear is the sound of education leaders across the state confronting and reacting to the reality of the cuts in education that the new state budget imposes – you know, the new budget that Gov. McCrory and right-wing think tankers have been bragging about.

Yesterday, the High Point Enterprise reported on the comments of Randolph County Community College President Robert Shackleford, Jr.: Read More