Gov's bottom line: Classroom layoffs?

Posted May 24, 2011

Gov. Bev Perdue's office sent out this statement this afternoon in reaction to the Senate budget rollout: 

“This state was built on providing a quality education for all North Carolinians. Let me be clear: it’s a core part of who we are and what we value as a people. I’ve seen the House budget and I’m reviewing the Senate budget. By the time they come together, they need to send me a budget that protects our schools, community colleges and universities. If they pass a budget that undermines our schools and fails to protect the quality of our education system, then I will have no choice but to veto it.” @NCCapitol Budget plan elicits fiery response

(Watch tonight's segment on the issue from the 6pm newscast at right.)

But what did the governor think of the Senate proposal itself?  I called her spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson to get a little more detail. 

"In general, the Senate makes some positive steps in the right direction," Pearson said. "Adding teachers to the classroom is always a good thing, and clearly they heard what the governor had to say about protecting the classroom."

"But they still cut the dickens out of public education," she added. "So while they may make steps in certain areas, we get the sense they’re shuffling cuts around."

Senate Leader Phil Berger, R-Rockingham, said this morning that increased education spending is his way of signaling GOP leaders are willing to compromise with Perdue on the budget. But Pearson wasn't taking that at face value.

"I hope it’s their way of showing that they’re finally coming to understand that education is a priority for NC, not just the governor," she said. "I hope they’ve been hearing from the same people we’ve been hearing from – the families, the teachers, the business leaders who’ve been urging [Perdue] to protect education in North Carolina."

So what would "protecting education" look like? Does the governor have a do-or-die number in mind?  

Pearson sidestepped the question. "There are so many pieces to the puzzle. The easy answer is to say, 'Follow the guidelines she laid out in her own budget.' But, of course, she also included some revenue there, some investments that they seem completely unwilling to consider."

"We’d even be willing to consider a half-penny extension on the sales tax," Pearson said. "Give us some new ideas."

Pearson stressed that Perdue isn't willing to accept K-12 funding at the cost of university or community college funding. But public schools are clearly her foremost concern. "The governor has made it very clear that she wants a budget that does not fire teachers or teachers' assistants," Pearson said.  

And what if the legislature sends her a proposal that does? "She’s not afraid to veto it," Pearson replied. 



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  • dlphnwmn8 May 30, 2011

    There is no better example of the saying “Absolute power corrupts absolutely” than this. And power they have. But are they acting as good stewards of their power? Instead of taking the moral high ground, as Berger states he knows of our hardships, and sending a clean bill (HB 676) to Perdue, he and every single republican instead elected to be cold, callous and vindictive when offered the chance to vote on legislation to restore benefits immediately. Remember this from just last week “Amendment failed on party lines. All Rs voted to keep benefit fix tied to budget measure. All Ds voted to separate them.” Which means Berger (and Tillis) continue to speak for all the republicans. In this interview Berger made it crystal clear he and the other republicans know we are experiencing extreme hardship and stress. But too bad. Unless they get what they want, we get nothing and continue to give up everything. Berger could not have made it any plainer that they just don’t care.

  • ga2nc36bm May 26, 2011

    i am so sorry gov perdue you promise you would let the tax increase expire you changed your mind poor working people want to pay the fair share in tax but also trying to live you will loose a lot of votes your all about just kids be about all kids didnt vote you in.i love kids just because you got a degree does not mean you make taxpayers suffer

  • dlphnwmn8 May 25, 2011

    House Rules votes on straight party lines to keep unemp benefits tied to budget measure. 14 Rs, 9 Ds.

    So everybody.....there it is. They had their chance to help us and just flipped us a big old bird.

  • aprildiamonds732 May 25, 2011

    Once again the unemployed are not being acknowledge. Shame on both sides. They need to just separate the 2 bills that is the right thing to do. We are the least of their worries. These so called leaders of NC they go home to their nice houses where they have food and nice cars and their families are secure. (The Unemployed)Now that we don't have our benefits, some of us don't have homes anymore to go to, our kids don't have a nice meal cause there's no money to buy food and a lot of us don't have lights so our kids can do there homework. But I guess this is acceptable to these heartless Republicans and Bev Perdue, because not one effort has been made to get us our benefits. Its hard for a child to get an education if they are worried about being homeless, no matter whats being spent on schools and education.These employed people that leave nasty comments that say we are just lazy. Don't think this can't happen to you.Life has a way of bringing people down off there high horse.

  • stanmak May 25, 2011

    i have a real problem with our governor always speaking to the news outlets and reporting to us through prepared statements and through spokespeople. especially during THIS time. yall go ahead and make a mental note of this.

  • AlbertEinstein May 25, 2011

    "...providing a quality education for all North Carolinians" should be a measurable condition where we spend this amount of money for the performance of educational goals by our students. In other words, we MAY be providing... but the kids are not learning -- so why lie to us?

  • jonathangonia May 24, 2011

    What about EB?? Havent heard anything this week on that.......