Republican Leader Would Eliminate 5,400 More School Employees
Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger's opposition to replacing federal "EduJobs" funds set to expire next year would mean the elimination of an additional 5,400 school employees across the state.
In an interview on Wednesday, Senator Berger called replacing those federal EduJobs funds with state funds "the wrong approach."
Senator Berger apparently believes that we should cut 5,400 more jobs from North Carolina schools. Superintendents, teachers and parents across North Carolina have said for months that our schools need more resources so they can prepare our children for the future. But Senator Berger's position would actually result in more school layoffs -- our schools just can't afford more cuts. Republicans in the General Assembly need to pass a responsible education budget that reverses the damage they did last year and invests in our children.
In Guilford and Rockingham counties, the two counties that Senator Berger represents, failing to replace the EduJobs money would mean the elimination of 339 employees (256 in Guilford and 83 in Rockingham), according to data from the Department of Public Instruction.
This week, Gov. Bev Perdue outlined her 2012-13 budget proposal, which focuses on investing in education, investing in jobs, and standing up for veterans and military families. One of the Governor's central priorities in her budget is reversing the deep and unnecessary school cuts Republicans in the General Assembly forced on North Carolina last year. In last year's budget, which they passed over Gov. Perdue's veto, the Republican-controlled General Assembly cut K-12 spending in North Carolina by approximately $459 million, or 5.8%.
This year, local schools have been forced to cut 915 teachers, more than 2,000 teacher assistants, and nearly 5,000 total educators across North Carolina. As damaging as those cuts have been (one superintendent called them "a cancer in our budget"), schools were shielded from the full impact of those cuts by $258 million of temporary federal EduJobs money. The federal EduJobs money enabled North Carolina schools to keep some of the teachers, teacher assistants and other education professionals that would otherwise have been cut. That federal money—which was designed to help states deal with declining revenue associated with the economic downturn—goes away later this year.
Gov. Perdue's budget calls for an investment in K-12 schools next year of slightly more than $8 billion, an increase of more than $562 million over what is currently planned for next year. Her budget includes $503 million to restore the LEA flex cut the Republican-controlled General Assembly made last year. By increasing our investment in K-12 schools, Gov. Perdue's proposal would also prevent the even deeper cuts currently scheduled for 2012-13, and make up for the loss of the EduJobs money. By some estimates, her proposal will save or create approximately 11,000 education positions next year.
- The interview is available at http://abclocal.go.com/wtvd/story?section=news/politics&id=8655004 (the relevant portion begins at 1:28).
- The information is available at http://www.ncpublicschools.org/fbs/. The file is available under the heading "Impact of LEA Adjustment in FY12-13 and Loss of EduJobs Funds."