@NCCapitol

@NCCapitol

Nesbitt: GOP budget deal "assault" on schools

Posted May 31, 2011 7:16 p.m. EDT

While House and Senate Republicans spent their day touting their "bipartisan" budget deal, Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt said today that Senate Democrats don't like it.

The deal puts about $240 million more into public school funding than the previous Senate plan did.  An earlier $390 million dollar cut to teachers' aides in grades 1-2 is no longer in the budget.  But schools would be asked to cut $124 million more at the local level.    

Nesbitt accused GOP leaders of "abdicating their responsibility," attempting to pass the buck for cuts to local officials while claiming to protect the classroom.

The latest compromise, Nesbitt said, does nothing more than "rearrange the deck chairs on the proverbial Titanic.

"It's still the Titanic," he added, "and it's still going down." 

Nesbitt called on Republicans to back down from their "assault on public education" by agreeing to extend part of a one-percent temporary sales tax increase scheduled to end July 1st. The governor's budget extended 3/4ths of one cent, bringing in an additional $840 million in revenue.

GOP leaders have said they won't consider extending any part of the tax. Nesbitt says they should reconsider. 

"There are still half a billion dollars in cuts to public education in here that are not necessary," Nesbitt said. "It's about making choices."  

Watch the press conference at right.