Statement from Rep. Linda Johnson, R-Cabarrus
Posted March 9
The courts say the state funding is adequate but no one wants to just be adequate. As we are recovering from the recession the General Assembly has increased funding. The GA is funding education more than any other item. Even though we have made the budget easier to read, the required structure of government accounting makes it hard to see all funding in a category.
An example is technology funding coming from capital sub budget and some state funded grant programs even some in the Governor's office sub budget. This process makes people compare numbers and dollars that are not comparable. Adding local control makes this even more incomparable as the state gives spending flexibility of state dollars except wages to the local school system.
This means the state sends the dollars and the local unit decides how it is spent. If their need is salaries then bonuses, if technology then technology and if not technology but is textbooks then choose textbooks as state budget line items don't matter at that level.
Ten percent (raise) sounds good and would be a well deserved boost to our teachers, but what about Teaching Assistants, bus drivers, counselors and cafeteria workers. They all contribute to a child's education. A 10 percent raise for teachers only would be $500,000,000.00 (one half a billion dollars). In government accounting you can only pay reoccurring debt (wages) with reoccurring dollars (tax).
The reduced flat taxes on individuals and business has spurred our economy and if we change that direction it would reduce our higher % of recovery. Higher recovery allows the state to solve recession problems even if it is not at the speed or with the rewards all would want.
We are in recovery not just because of the Governor and General Assembly efforts, the recovery is happening because all our state employees help make it happen and they all need to be rewarded. I believe raises and plans for recovery will come during Short Session but not at unrealistic rates.