Over the past few years one of the persistent claims of teachers, members of the media or liberal activists is that Republican legislators have slashed education budgets. Roy Cooper, North Carolina Attorney General and the Democratic nominee for Governor recently said, “Gov. McCrory and legislative leaders are turning their backs on public education and it’s wrong.”
So are they right?
The graph below, produced by the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction lists per student support from 2008-09 to 2015-16. If you focus on state support(pink)and overall trend lines, you can see see significant cuts in state support 2009-10 and 2010-11; the period of a significant economic slowdown but also a period when Democrats actually controlled the legislature and the Governor’s office. Republicans won majorities in the General Assembly in 2010 but didn’t take office until 2011. Governor McCrory took office in 2013.State support for K-12 public education has increased every year since 2011.
Are Republicans planning budget reductions for K-12 education? If you look at the numbers, the answer is no. While a budget has yet to be passed, both the Senate and House versions of the State Budget add money to K-12 education. The House about $377 million; the Senate about $277 million. While the final amount has yet to be negotiated, it’s very likely the final number will again represent an increase over last year.