“Public Schools First NC” is a parent-led advocacy group that supports that state’s public schools. It reports that Democratic Governor Roy Cooper has proposed significant increases in funding for the public schools. This may be a struggle because the state’s legislature, the General Assembly, is controlled by conservative Republicans who take every opportunity to hurt public schools and help charters and vouchers.

On Wednesday (5/11) Governor Cooper released his recommended budget for 2022-23, Building on Success.

With the legislative short session starting on May 18, Governor Cooper’s budget sets out his priorities for spending updates for the upcoming 2022-2023 budget. He is recommending adjustments to the two-year budget passed last fall to help remedy many of the shortfalls left by the previous budget. These recommendations show a commitment to investing in our children, our educators, and our communities at a level that will truly benefit all North Carolinians.

In the previous budget, much of the education spending was non-recurring. Governor Cooper’s new budget recommendations address this problem clearly: “The constitutional mandate to provide a sound basic education requires stable, recurring funding. The Governor’s FY 2022-23 Recommended Budget uses General Fund and lottery receipts to fully-fund Year Three of the Comprehensive Remedial Plan and the nonrecurring Year Two items not funded in SL 2021-180.”

NC is in a good financial position, with an expected $4.2 billion more in revenue this year and an additional $2 billion more next year than projected. The proposed budget allocates a portion of the surplus but leaves more than $1.5 billion unallocated, which will likely satisfy even the most fiscally conservative legislators.

Included in the new spending are dollars for teachers, teacher preparation, early childhood education, low-performing schools, and pathways to college and career. Here are the details:

  • $33.1 M: Develops a skilled educator pipeline and builds educator and principal capacity.
  • $370.1M: Provides fair and equitable distribution of financial resources.
  • $19.9 M: Supports low-performing schools and districts.
  • $89.7 M: Expands access to high-quality early childhood education for children from birth to age five.
  • $13 M: Creates a guided pathway from high school to postsecondary education and career opportunities.

Investments in these priorities are expected to have the following impacts:

  • Ensure all teachers receive at least a 7.5% raise over the biennium.
  • Support up to 535 additional Teaching Fellows with forgivable loans.
  • Provide up to 97,500 students with no co-pay, free school meals.
  • Increase NC Pre-K reimbursement rates by 19%, and administrative reimbursement rates from 6% to 10%.
  • Expand Smart Start services statewide and strengthen the Early Intervention program with increased staffing and professional development.
  • Expand the Child Care WAGE$ program statewide to improve pay for early childhood educators.

In the upcoming legislative session, the General Assembly will decide whether or not to adopt Governor Cooper’s budget. We urge you to contact your legislator to express support for this much-needed budget adjustment. NC has the funds; there’s no good reason not to invest in our state’s future.

Don’t Miss This Event!

Thursday, May 19 at 7:00 PM

Donald Cohen, author of The Privatization of Everything: How the Plunder of Public Goods Transformed America and How We Can Fight Back, & Timothy Tyson, author of The Blood of Emmet Till & Blood Done Signed My Namediscuss

Make a tax-deductible donation of $50 to support our work (we really appreciate your help!) and we will include a copy of Cohen’s book. Books can be mailed to your home or picked up & signed at the event: Donate Here

Hunt LibraryNCSU, Partners Way – Raleigh, NC 27606

Free event but registration is required.

Get your tickets here.