NC teacher group lobbies unfriendly legislature

Posted June 15, 2011

— North Carolina Senators heard Wednesday from public school workers before they voted to back up their $19.7 billion budget by overriding Gov. Beverly Perdue's veto.

The North Carolina Association of Educators lobbied the Senate to get more funding for public schools, presenting pennies and personal stories members had collected to lawmakers to try to sway they votes.

The effort failed, however, as the Senate voted along party lines to join the House in overriding Perdue's veto of the budget, which she said would reverse North Carolina's recent gains in education.

"They have chosen to turn their backs on our future," NCAE President Sheri Strickland said of lawmakers. "One penny could have prevented all of it."

Perdue and the teachers group wanted lawmakers to keep in place a temporary one-cent increase to the state sales tax rate to avoid cuts to education spending. The increase is set to expire at the end of June, and the Republican-led General Assembly refused to extend it, sticking to its promise to cut taxes.

"If we are about making sure every kid gets a good education, this is certainly not the way to do it," said Rep. Rosa Gill, D-Wake, a former teacher and member of the Wake County Board of Education.

"It's devastating for the rural counties. Wake County may fare a little better," Gill said.

Schools ready for cuts imposed by state Schools ready for cuts imposed by state

David Neter, chief business officer for the Wake County Public School System, said the final budget means the school district will have to cut another $8 million in non-instructional spending. That will force the layoffs of hundreds more school employees, mostly custodians.

The district already has cut more than 200 central office and clerical positions and plans to reduce the pay of teaching assistants.

"People are going to feel it, I believe, and in the schools they are going to see it," Neter said.

Money left from a one-time federal grant will protect teacher and teaching assistant jobs for one more year. Without additional state funding, however, Wake County schools will start the budget process for the 2012-13 school year with a $30 million deficit after that grant runs out.

"That would be the equivalent of eliminating two grades worth of teacher's assistants," Neter said.

Cumberland County Schools issued 374 pink slips on Wednesday, including cutting 130 teachers and 179 teaching assistants, because of cuts in the state budget.

Noting North Carolina will rank 49th nationally in per-pupil spending – Utah ranks last – once the budget cuts take effect, Strickland said the NCAE will continue pressing for more education funding.

"Our schools, our educators and our children are too important to give up on," she said. "The fight will be continued. We will not be deterred, we will not be silenced and we will not forget."


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  • annageisler Jun 16, 2011

    It's amusing that people break things along party lines so well (ie. whiney democrats, liberals, etc) I've read every post on this page and those 'liberals' seem to be the only ones throwing out actual facts, or are in classrooms themselves. Whyy don't you spend a semester volunteering at Barwell Elementary and see how many kids have cell phones, or how the class sizes average 26 with just 1 TA for part of the day? Economists, not policitians are the ones we should get our inforamation from first. The whole reason NC has such an incredible higher education system is because we INVESTED in college as a business venture. Investing in public education, not defunding it, is the way to go and view that is consistently supported by organizations like the brookings institute, various federal reserve banks, and american capital access. The quality of education determines what business will come along to NC, and that is THE belief upheld by the business world. NC should not be a state of

  • Shamrock Jun 16, 2011

    visavisa21 - awesome comments!

  • superman Jun 16, 2011

    If you dont like cooking--get out of the kitchen. Years ago the public welfare education system was started because the poor uneducated couldnt afford to send their children to private schools. Now the poor uneducated can afford big homes, SUV, cable tv, and 4 or 5 cell phones and are still unable to afford to send their children to school. Elimate the dependent deduction first. Then add 1,500 tax for the first dependent. Any more dependents add 5,000 to their tax return. Require parents to volunteer in the schools. The education program is no different that the welfare program. The rich hardworking people who pay taxes are the ones that continue to support and pay for the schools. There are millions of people in this country that do not have children and have no interest in paying for your childrens schooling. Is that so hard for you to understand. We need to stop this education welfare system and do it soon.

  • Plenty Coups Jun 16, 2011

    Nancy-I'm still waiting for the evidence that NC is moving towards being in the top ten in terms of per capita taxes. The link you gave me shows a 26th ranking per capita.

  • Mustange Jun 15, 2011

    This states not broke and this country is not broke. We have assets that we could sell to get this country out of debt, whats broke are the folks who keep running in the ground.

  • Mustange Jun 15, 2011

    (Being selfish and asking everyone to pay more taxes so you can have a job is just plain ignorant.) Ok thats fine with us we will all stay home so when you bring your kids to school guess what NO TEACHERS after all we dont want to be selfish, in fact put thim in a private school oh thats right its not free and we dont want to pay 5000 a year for private school now do we.

  • Mustange Jun 15, 2011


  • Mustange Jun 15, 2011


  • Plenty Coups Jun 15, 2011

    "Being selfish and asking everyone to pay more taxes so you can have a job is just plain ignorant."

    Selfish? Are you kidding? Who do you think buys tissues, pencils, paper, etc. for the students in their classroom? Who do you think had their last "merit pay" ended when the Legislature decided to not fund it anymore? Who do you think had their yearly cost of living increase taken away 3 years ago though it was promised them? Mentor pay taken away. Why is it OK for the state to require expensive, time consuming 4 year degrees, ongoing certifications, and then pay tens of thousands of dollars less than other professions requiring the same education level? To say nothing of rapidly rising health care costs, additional unpaid duties (who do you think chaperones games and dances), furloughs, driving buses, doing laundry (yes laundry for sport teams)Now tell me, who is the one being selfish?

  • visavisa21 Jun 15, 2011

    The Teachers aren't thinking about themselves and their own jobs, if they were they would have been holding up signs saying, "we haven't had a raise in 4 years!!" No, those teachers are looking out for the kids! Unlike all of you, who are looking our for your wallets and then pointing your fingers at the teachers! You people can't even deal with 1 penny coming out of your wallets and these teachers haven't seen a 1 cent increase in their paychecks in 4 years!! Do you even care that we rank 49th nationally in per-pupil spending? "Schools want more, teachers never have enough" - yeah, that's right because obviously we're practically LAST in the country in per-pupil spending!!! Teachers spend hundreds of their own dollars on materials for the classroom because there's no money. Why don't we see some consideration for the hard-working teachers who spend their own money, don't see a raise for 4 years, and rally for the kids and not themselves? Wake up people!!!