Statists and members of the government education establishment can get along pretty well when the trough is overflowing with tax dollars. But when revenue begins to slow down, it quickly becomes evident that bureaucrats from different state agencies are competitors rather than allies.
Witness the dustup between UNC President Erskine Bowles and the N.C. Association of Educators.
Behind-the-scenes criticism of UNC-system spending burst into the open this week, with the president of the state teachers organization telling UNC President Erskine Bowles that universities had money to spare before they started cutting faculty.
The university is protecting its “questionable spending,” said Sheri Strickland, president of the N.C. Association of Educators, while teachers in local public schools are losing their jobs.
In the past year, tight budgets have heightened the competition between the teachers group and the state university system, with the NCAE claiming that Senate leaders protect the universities. NCAE stepped up its criticism of university spending this year, referring repeatedly to the $9 million in tuition breaks that legislators give UNC athletes and to a consultant’s report that UNC-Chapel Hill has too many administrators.