Credibility Crisis: WRAL Deviously Misleads Readers in Claiming There’s “No Money” in School Reopening Bill

WRAL editorial: “There’s no money in the bill to pay for the most basic necessities”

Reality: There’s $1.6 billion in a companion bill (which already passed) for the very “basic necessities” that WRAL lists

Sen. Ballard: “The disinformation campaign to withhold education from children is stunning and despicable”

Raleigh, N.C. — WRAL, which last week ran a cartoon showing a black elected leader in a KKK uniform, today published an editorial with yet more disinformation that misleads readers.

WRAL argues that the legislature is attempting to reopen schools without providing money for “transportation resources,” “testing,” and “appropriate space” for student lunches.

But the editorial qualifies each accusation of withholding resources with phrases like “this legislation” and “in the bill.”

That’s because the legislature, in a separate companion bill, provided $1.6 billion in federal aid to schools to support reopening.

The bill with $1.6 billion in school funding passed the day before the reopen bill was debated. Surely WRAL knows this.

Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), who co-chairs the Senate Education Committee, said, “The disinformation campaign to withhold education from children is stunning and despicable. This WRAL editorial is devious in its attempt to misinform. Each of the funding requests listed by WRAL is already covered in a $1.6 billion aid package that passed last week.”

WRAL lists the following items that it says the legislature should have funded:

  • “Additional transportation resources”
  • “Appropriate space and facilities for safe preparation, distribution and consumption of school meals”
  • “Adequate nurses”
  • “Regular on-site COVID-19 testing”

Each of those items is eligible for the $1.6 billion in school aid the legislature passed last week in its school reopening companion bill.

Here are just a few of the eligible uses of that $1.6 billion authorized by the federal government:

  • “Mental health services and supports”
  • “Discretionary funds for school principals to address the needs of their individual schools”
  • “Activities that are necessary to maintain the operation and continuity of services in LEAs”

In addition to this latest $1.6 billion round of school aid, the legislature provided schools with a “hold harmless” budget provision last year. The provision means that schools receive the same level of funding despite serving fewer students.

School districts also have unspent funding from the $356 million in school aid the legislature passed last year.