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Perdue calls for more school funds

Posted March 19, 2012 12:42 p.m. EDT
Updated March 19, 2012 7:23 p.m. EDT

Gov. Bev Perdue met with reporters this morning to kick off a two-week statewide tour, pushing state lawmakers to find more money for schools.

Perdue said she would seek meetings with Republican House and Senate leaders to talk about how to address the upcoming budget. Next year's budget, as written last year, includes $74 million in additional state "flexibility" cuts to school districts. 

Last year, leftover federal "EduJobs" funding was available to help cover cuts. But that money - another $258.5 million - won't be available this year.   

"Nothing can stop that loss." Perdue said this morning. "This is the year that there has to be a plan. They can’t just do more cutting. It’s extreme."

Perdue is still pushing for a three-quarter cent tax increase to generate additional revenue to cover the total $332.6 million cut.  But Republican leaders have already called her proposal "dead on arrival." 

The governor also called on conservative groups Americans for Prosperity and CIvitas to pull the "NC Real Solutions" ad campaign they launched last week.

The ad credits GOP leaders with having added 2000 more state-funded teachers to schools statewide. It doesn't mention that on balance, looking at federal, state, and local funding, DPI reports there are 915 fewer teachers employed in North Carolina this school year than last.

Perdue said the ad "distorts the truth."

"Anybody who can listen and count the slots understands clearly that it’s just an attempt to muddy the waters," she said. "We are sitting today with fewer teachers than we had in the classroom last year, fewer employees in the public school system, fewer teachers’ assistants, as we face an increasing enrollment in schools in North Carolina." 

"I’m asking them to pull this ad down, to stop trying to distort the truth, and [for] the General Assembly to join me in my plan to try to do whatever it is that’s necessary to stand up public education in North Carolina," said Perdue. 

State Americans for Prosperity director Dallas Woodhouse said the ad "is100 percent accurate and truthful" and will remain on the airwaves, adding that he hopes to expand the ad's reach over the coming weeks.

"If the Governor did not constantly make untrue statements about the current state budget," Woodhouse said, "our NC Real Solutions effort would not be needed."