Here’s the press release from Together NC:
The General Assembly’s “Backwards Budget” will harm Buncombe schools
New numbers from DPI reveal county-by-county impact
Raleigh (July 3rd, 2012) – Lawmakers at the General Assembly are making a lot of claims about what their 2012-13 budget adjustments will or will not do. The truth is, this budget is bad for North Carolina as a whole, but especially so for local school districts who will once again be forced to return millions of dollars to the state and make the impossible choices of where and what positions to cut. According to a new analysis from the Department of Public Instruction, Buncombe County schools will see a $4.12 million cut to K-12 funding in the coming year and Aville city City schools will see a $672 thousand cut.
“The leadership in the General Assembly had an opportunity to prioritize education with this budget,” says Rob Thompson of Together NC. “But once again, they chose to ignore new revenue options, left in place an unsolicited tax break for big businesses that will cost the state $336 million, and passed a budget that will lead to more education layoffs.”
The loss of $259 million in federal EduJobs money, combined with the legislature’s failure to eliminate mandatory reversions – money that local districts must return to the state – means that schools across North Carolina will have $190 million less to work with in 2013 compared to 2012. At the local level, DPI’s analysis of the final budget paints a grim picture for districts that are still reeling from millions of dollars in cuts last year.
“There is no doubt that education will suffer as a result of this budget, but the damage won’t be limited to the classroom,” says Thompson.
The final budget inexplicably underfunds the State Board of Elections at $660,000 below 2000 levels ($3.46 million), disqualifying our state from receiving $4 million in federal Help America Vote Act grants. The absence of this money in the final budget will leave counties with fewer resources, less well-trained staff, and less money for buying and maintaining equipment for what is sure to be a hotly contested, high-turnout election in November.
With this budget, lawmakers in Raleigh are sending the wrong message to North Carolinians – that we can somehow strengthen our state by chipping away at the very investments that have made us a model for the rest of the South. In sacrificing our commitment to quality public education and fair and efficient elections, budget-writers are jeopardizing our future and the health of our democracy.
Together NC is a collection of more than 120 non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations who have come together to promote wise choices for shared prosperity for all North Carolinians. For more information, visit www.togethernc.org.