Gov. Perdue issued her eighth veto since taking office against SB 727, “An Act to Eliminate the Dues Check Off Option for Active and Retired Public School Employees”. The act would have prevented the NCAE from automatically withdrawing dues from public school employees’ paychecks. The group receives most of its funding through this method. Perdue has now vetoed seven bills during the 2011-2012 session. From her statement vetoing the bill:
“In short, the Republican leadership is punishing teachers because teachers had the “audacity” to publicly protest a budget that contains the most devastating cuts to education in our State’s history. Teachers have rights, and I refuse to allow the General Assembly to take them away. “
The NCAE, which represents around a third of the state’s teachers, has engaged in a very public fight with the Republican leadership over the state budget. Despite the NCAE’s multiple rallies and statewide ad campaign advocating for continuing the higher sales tax , Republicans were able to override the Governor’s veto of the budget with help from Democrats in the House.
In a June 9 press conference, NC House Speaker Thom Tillis (R-Mecklenburg) explained that the bill was not an attack on teachers, but an attempt to remove state assistance in funding a highly politicized, highly paid advocacy group.
“Our problem is not with the third of the teachers who are members of the NCAE, but the folks that are running around this building making upper six-figure incomes – some of them $170,000 or more – that have run political operations, that run ads against each of the Democrat members who voted for a budget that re-established $400 million between universities and K through 12 funding, to allow all teachers and teacher assistants to be funded.
“The same organization that has directly posted videos of children in classrooms saying ‘Don’t fire my teacher.’ … They’re the same people who had either directly or indirectly condoned a third-grade teacher, who happens to have one of my members in her classroom, writing a letter to her dad saying ‘Please don’t fire my teacher, fund more for education.’”
“Can you really honestly say they’re a nonpartisan organization that’s about the classroom, or is it about sort of the old union, high-paid union bosses in Raleigh playing political games?”
Work by the Civitas Institute has revealed the public’s support for ending union dues checkoff , as well as the high levels of compensation enjoyed by NCAE executives. The Governors veto reveals her priorities lie with her political allies, not with the people of North Carolina.