Action NC statement on Senate budget proposal:
With drastic cuts to education and health services, coupled with short-sighted environmental and governmental deregulation, it is now clear that the Republican-led Senate is set on following the lead of their colleagues in the House and the Governor’s office in abandoning their collective obligation to do what is best for all the people of North Carolina.
This budget will reduce available revenues by more than $200 million this year alone, expanding to more than $700 million over the two years, all at the expense of low and moderate income North Carolinians for the express benefit of high-income individuals and corporations. These cuts deeply impact our Medicaid system, which will be forced to increase costs to patients, reduce reimbursements to providers, and our public education system, which will decrease our already measly per-pupil spending and force larger class sizes with less classroom resources.
In a time of continued economic hardship for so many in North Carolina, we can ill afford these deep and foolish cuts to our public investments. It is fiscally irresponsible for the Senate to make such a proposal, and we oppose it.
More than 60 percent of North Carolina voters oppose a school voucher plan currently under consideration at the General Assembly. How do we know? We asked you. And you. And you.
Actually, we didn't, but the awesome folks over at Public Policy Polling did.
You know the background by now: the bill currently under consideration in the North Carolina General Assembly would take $90 million from the public school budget and spend it on a school voucher program. The bill would give some low-income students grants of up to $4,200 to pay for private school tuition, far less than is necessary to actually afford a private school.
But this new poll clearly shows that when lawmakers say that the public is with them on school vouchers, they are just blowing hot air. Nearly two-thirds of North Carolinians have demonstrated their strong opposition to this insidious disinvestment in our public education system, and now the only question is whether or not lawmakers will heed their warning.Read more
We really would like to have been wrong about this one.
Just as we said, the House introduced HB 944, or the ironically named "Opportunity Scholarship program" last night. This barely-disguised voucher bill draws the battle lines between those who believe in the future of public education, and those who want a private, for-profit version of education, are clearly drawn. The private and religious schools eligible to receive the more than $90 million in public funds under this voucher scheme are allowed to discriminate on a variety of grounds, and the direct result will be in public money going directly to private institutions.
The total bill for this plan will be in excess of $90 million dollars over the next two years, all in public money that would be channeled to private schools. With a public school system that has been weakened by repeated budget cuts over the past decade, our schools can scarcely afford this direct assault.Read more
Another day, another giant backward step for the future of North Carolina. This morning we got the conformation of what we've been expecting to see for months now – North Carolina will be the latest state to consider school vouchers.
In an “exclusive interview” with the John Locke Foundation, Paul Stam laid out his $90 million plan to bleed our public schools of money while enriching corporations, all at the expense of our children. And his reasoning for this program? Why, to save money, of course.
It now costs state and local governments $6,745 to educate a typical child in public school, and $8,414 when including federal allocations, according to Stam. The average opportunity scholarship is expected to be $3,990, according to a fiscal analysis memorandum by the legislative Fiscal Research Division.
Keep in mind that North Carolina is already near the bottom (two from the bottom, actually) of what we spend on a per-pupil basis. Stam’s proposal would further reduce our spending by more than $17 million for the 2013-2014 school year, and more than $25 million in the next school year, according to the fiscal analysis.Read more