Jim knows you can’t put a price on a good education. In order to compete for the jobs of the 21st century, we need a flexible education system that prepares our children for the jobs of the future and can support career transitions when times get tough, as they have recently.
A strong education system that supports quality of life and job growth in North Carolina means prioritizing:
- Real investment in early childhood education programs like Smart Start and Pre-K NC
- Recruiting, training, and retaining great teachers for our K-12 schools, starting by moving teacher pay to the national average
- Accountability measures that are fair to students and teachers
- Manageable classroom sizes
- Preserving access to our one-of-a-kind public university and community college system
Jim believes the choice between Pre-K, K-12, and college funding is a false one. Of course, we have to make tough decisions during tough times. Waste can and should be cut, but tough decisions must also be the right decisions. Businesses choose to locate here in North Carolina and RTP because we have traditionally shown a strong commitment to public education. We need to ensure that they stay here too. Having a strong and diverse education system not only means jobs now and in the future, but it enhances quality of life for everyone in the community. For information about this Legislature’s $1 billion in cuts over the last two years, see below:
The Truth about Education Spending: By the Numbers
Q: What is HB 200?
A: HB 200 is the North Carolina state budget, passed in 2011. The budget lasts for two years. Governor Bev Perdue (D) vetoed the budget, but Republicans in the legislature later called a rare “midnight session” and voted to override her veto.
Polling shows that North Carolinians vastly oppose these sneaky “midnight sessions” -
“Do you think it is appropriate or inappropriate for the General Assembly to take votes on legislation in the middle of the night?
Appropriate ………… .19%
Not sure …………….. .16%”
(source: Public Policy Polling [http://www.publicpolicypolling.com/main/2012/01/nc-gop-legislators-popularity-in-the-toilet.html])
Q: How did HB 200 affect education spending in North Carolina?
A: HB 200 cut state education spending in North Carolina by -$424,991,908 in 2011 and an estimated -$503,067, 940 in 2012. This affected Wake County by cutting our education budget by -$42,313,748 in 2011 and an estimated -$49,620,261 in 2012. This caused Superintendent Tony Tata to consider taking out $29 million out of our $34.6 million emergency rainy-day fund just so we could pay our teachers.
Q: How has the North Carolina education system survived these budget cuts?
A: In 2010, President Obama and the Democrat-led House and Senate passed into law a grant that would provide financial aid to each state in the country during the recession. This two-year “EduJobs” grant sent +$258,546,640 to North Carolina in the first year and +$301,375,139 in the second year. This money from the federal government helped to offset the NC Republican endorsed budget cuts and funded an estimated 5,448 jobs in the state (548 of those being in Wake County). With the help of the EduJobs grant, our state experienced a total drop in education funding of -$332,612,672 rather than nearly -$1,000,000,000.
Q: So, what’s the big deal?
A: The EduJobs grant expired this summer. Our opponent is claiming that he “fought to give teachers their first raise in four years and to hire 2000 new elementary school teachers, reducing K-3 class sizes”, yet he fails to mention that the money used to do so was with the EduJobs grant money. And in Wake County, the numbers don’t add up:
The education budget cuts that Rep. Murry voted in favor of have decimated our District’s education sector, yet Murry continues to lie. Wake County lost 94 elementary teaching positions between 2011 and 2012, yet he claims to have fought to include budget expansions to provide for over 2,000 new elementary teaching positions. Why, then, has Wake County lost 94 positions?
The worst part is that the federal EduJobs grant that has helped fund our schools has just expired – now schools are scrambling for funds in order to stay afloat. And it’s not just teaching positions that HB 200 has sliced – it also made deep cuts such as the $92.2 million cut in textbook purchases and the $42 million cut in instructional materials (http://www.wcnc.com/news/local/State-lawmakers-pass-budget-some-school-jobs-cut-123172918.html). Our schools are operating on scraps right now, pushing North Carolina to the bottom of the barrel in terms of educational spending – even below states like Alabama and South Carolina (http://www2.census.gov/govs/school/10f33pub.pdf). If our students are our future, why is Tom Murry putting it at risk?