Wednesday, August 6, 2014

NC Gov McCrory & Legislature Approves Budget with Hidden Anti-Public Ed Agenda

Today, North Carolina Governor McCroy signed the budget presented to him by the legislature. What amazes me is how our state political leaders can say with a straight face, that they have given teachers a "historical pay raise." Teacher raises are actually between 18% and .3%, depending on years experience. From what I can see, here's what this budget really does.
  • It takes away longevity pay for experienced teachers and then returns it back to them in what the Legislature is calling an "average 7% raise." In other words, the actual raise is lower than what they brag about because they are taking pay away that teachers earn because of their years of service.
  • This budget sets up a donation fund to collect donations for those would like to donate money to future teacher pay raises, because we have political leaders unwilling to use tax money to fund future teacher raises.
  • The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction is cut by 10%.
  • There were no direct cuts to teacher assistant jobs, but the wording of this part of the budget has an odor difficult to identify.
  • Textbook funding was increased only by $1 million, bringing to to a whopping total of $25 million, yet our legislature was able to somehow find another $840,000 for school vouchers. Compare this to the fact that the textbook budget pre-2010 recession was around $125 million.
  • Monetary allotments for salaries and benefits to district offices were decreased by 3%.
  • The North Carolina Teaching Fellows Program, an excellent program designed to provide scholarships to promising high school students who want to become teachers was also cut.
  • The budget directs funding toward for-profit virtual charter schools, even though there questions about their effectiveness.
This budget is what I would call a "grudge" budget, which is a budget that uses mirrors and smokescreens to hide this legislature's continued anti-public education agenda. It is sad that Governor Pat McCroy, Thom Tillis, and Phil Berger would resort to deception in an election year, but then again being able to deceive others is a valued trait in American politicians of every stripe. It's too bad that children will continue to suffer under these kinds of budgetary decisions and public education will still continue to deteriorate. 

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