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As kids head back to class, NC lawmakers told to ‘cut the check’ and fully fund public schools (with photo gallery)

Education advocates from across the state converged on Raleigh’s Halifax Mall Saturday to urge legislative leaders to fully fund the Leandro plan for low-wealth school districts. The long-running lawsuit will be back before the North Carolina Supreme Court this Wednesday, with advocates hopeful the court will order lawmakers to fund the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan without further delay.

Speakers at Saturday’s rally stressed that with a $6 billion rainy day fund, the state could easily comply with previous court orders and transfer $785 million from the treasury to the schools.

One of the strongest appeals at the weekend rally came from Alexandra Sirota, director the NC Budget & Tax Center. Sirota criticized legislative leaders for prioritizing corporate tax cuts over the needs of the state’s youngest learners. Here’s an excerpt of those remarks:

No matter what we look like or where we come from, most of us believe in caring for our families and making sure every child has what they need to reach their full potential.

Some of us give our all as teachers, cafeteria workers, bus drivers, school nurses, or parents, to educate and support every child.

But when policymakers rig our tax code so the wealthy and corporations pay less, that erodes the foundation our children need to be successful.

It puts up barriers in place that then make our teachers and parents carry a heavier load.

Paying taxes is how we come together to do the things we need to build a strong foundation for a society where everyone – regardless of race or place – can thrive.

Yet policymakers plan to divert the profits that our work creates to shareholders and out-of-state corporations by eliminating the corporate income tax.

Let me be clear: That means that, by 2030, corporations will not have to pay any income tax in North Carolina on the profits they make from operating here.

Redirecting our state’s resources to already profitable corporations undercuts what is needed for to pay for the Leandro plan and move beyond that bare minimum needed and set in the state Constitution to ensure every child can truly thrive.

We can fund our children’s success if we go all in so that classrooms have the resources they need, schools have the staff to educate the whole child, and communities have safe, equitable public schools.

We must demand our leaders make corporations pay what they owe through taxes. That’s how we show up for each other, delivering the quality schools, affordable early childhood education, and good-paying jobs that ensure all of our families can thrive.

For more on how the Leandro Comprehensive Remedial Plan would impact school funding in your district, visit this interactive tool compiled by the Every Child NC Coalition.

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As kids head back to class, NC lawmakers told to ‘cut the check’ and fully fund public schools (with photo gallery)