Statement from Rep. Craig Horn, R-Union
Posted March 9
Certainly I would like to see additional funding for K-12 education, but that does not suggest that the current funding level is inadequate insofar as one must conclude what is included in "adequate." This question ties directly into the second question about salaries.
So, if salaries are part of the "adequate," then the answer is, of course, no, current feuding is not adequate. But, if "adequate" ties into what the state can afford in light of ALL needs, one must take note of the fact that the NEA's (National Education Association's) own website clearly shows that NC is at least 9th in the nation in dedicating state resources to public, K-12, education.
It must also be noted that the Great Recession affected NC to a much greater extent than pretty much all other states. We lost tens of thousands of jobs, many of which will never return to NC. We are in a fundamental paradigm shift in our state's economy, moving from an economy that relied heavily on textile-furniture-tobacco to an economy that is becoming ever more reliant on technology and service.
Many of us believe that our recently-enacted tax reforms have contributed mightily to the recent upsurge in jobs, many of which are in these new sectors. Of course, time will be the ultimate arbiter of this conclusion, but initial indicators are certainly positive.
Teacher salaries must be move up across the board. It not only helps us retain highly-effective teachers in the classroom, it also broadens the pool of available teachers. The precipitous decline in enrollment in teacher prep programs is a national problem, not just a North Carolina problem. Many states are in much more dire straits than are we. Salaries are a big piece of that puzzle. I support the "Increase by up to 3%" option, but would like to do even more. The 10% proposal is simply unrealistic in our still-fragile economy.