Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt told reporters today that the Senate's proposed cuts in education spending would be a "death blow" to NC schools.
The Senate's plan for education spending, released this morning, would deepen the House's cuts to K-12 schools by about 15%, and community college cuts would be about 19% deeper. But it would ease cuts to the university system by about 20%.
Senate GOP leaders say they're trying to find some balance to the education cuts. But Nesbitt called the proposal "devastating."
"We are destroying the public school system in this state, period," Nesbitt said, pointing out that K-12 schools had already faced two years of steep cuts under the Democrats. "When you've got those cuts already, and you put these on top of them, it's just a death blow."
Nesbitt said GOP leaders wouldn't need to cut so deeply if they would extend a temporary one-cent sales tax set to expire June 30th. Republican leaders say they won't consider it because they promised voters the tax would expire. But Nesbitt insists they have a choice.
"They're not doing this because they have to. They're doing this because they want to," he said. "I'm beginning to see a pattern here that makes me think the Republican party doesn't like public schools."
Watch Nesbitt's unedited comments at right.