While Other States Decimate Education Budgets, North Carolina Republicans Hold Strong
Raleigh, N.C. — Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the General Assembly has appropriated more than $700 million in additional CARES Act funding for education, including authorizing nearly $400 million from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund.
While other states like Arkansas, California, Colorado, Missouri, and Ohio are cutting or deferring funding for K-12 education, North Carolina has been able to stay the course and maintain healthy education funding levels.
“For nearly a decade the Republicans in the General Assembly have methodically and thoughtfully increased education spending,” Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga) said. “Now, facing the reality of a recession, instead of furloughing teachers and cutting education budgets like the North Carolina Democrats did during the last recession, we’ve held the line and kept education funding steady, provided pay raises and bonuses for teachers.”
During the last recession, Gov. Beverly Perdue’s state budget proposal cut spending on public schools by 3.2 percent and counted on one-time money from the federal government to make up the difference.
“At least Gov. Perdue provided the General Assembly a proposal during the last recession,” Sen. Ballard said. “If Gov. Cooper is waiting and wishing for the federal government to give more one-time funding, that’s not a smart budgeting strategy. He has had nearly $96 million at his fingertips since May. … And it’s still unspent.”
The General Assembly has provided funding for:
- $75 million for school nutrition programs
- $1 million for equipping buses with Wi-Fi
- $11 million for additional Wi-Fi access in homes and across communities
- $35 million for electronic devices to access remote learning
- $10 million for mental health support services
- $70 million for summer learning programs
- $1.5 million for Learning Management System Licenses
- $3 million for non-digital remote instruction resources
- $20 million for children with exceptional needs
- $7 million for Personal Protective Equipment
- $9 million for the GREAT Program to expand broadband internet access in under-served communities