GOP budget proposals fall well short of supporting public schools
Once again, Republican leaders completely ignored the tens of thousands of teachers who marched in Raleigh last month for better classroom funding. Instead of meeting the educators’ demands, this budget shows politicians would rather give huge tax cuts to big corporations and millionaires than invest in our schools and our students.
- Adjusted for inflation and enrollment growth, public school funding in North Carolina is still well below pre-recession levels -- and this budget does very little to change that. Politicians in Raleigh are forcing public schools to exist in a permanent recession so they can give yet another tax cut to the top 1%.
- House Republicans say they can’t afford to give educators a raise for the entire school year, yet they apparently have enough money to cut taxes on Big Tobacco, NASCAR, and even on jet fuel for private jet owners. Do they think educators can’t do math?
- Educators asked lawmakers to hire enough school psychologists, counselors, and health professionals to meet national standards. The Senate budget provides only 1% of the funding needed to do that.
- Educators asked lawmakers to give support staff like bus drivers and cafeteria workers a 5% raise. The Senate budget gives these critical employees only a 1% raise, and the House budget gives them just half a percent.
- Educators asked lawmakers to restore retirement benefits and master’s pay. While the House budget does restore master’s pay, the Senate proposal does not -- and neither budget restores retirement benefits for teachers who are hired after 2020.
- Adjusted for inflation, many teachers are making less than they would have 10 years ago at the same experience level. But the House and Senate budgets give raises that are significantly lower than what Gov. Cooper proposed.
- The House and Senate budgets give hundreds of millions of dollars in tax cuts to big corporations and the wealthy, on top of the $3.6 billion lawmakers have already handed out since 2013. Meanwhile, funding for classroom materials is still less than half of what it was 10 years ago, adjusted for inflation.
This is clearly not a budget that values public schools or our teachers and students. Instead of giving more tax cuts to the top 1%, lawmakers should pass a budget that restores education funding to pre-recession levels.