Thursday, August 07, 2014
The Hidden Stinkbomb in the Republican Budget
Because news has just emerged today of a provision written into education funding that even Republican members of the General Assembly say they didn't know about. "Two leading House Republicans said they learned of the provision after they voted for the budget."
Since 1933, the state of North Carolina has always based budgets for education on projected enrollment for the next year. In counties with rapid or even steady growth, that funding formula is crucial. Local school systems use the formula, and depend upon it, to hire teachers and plan their own budgets.
Those average daily attendance calculations for the coming year have been disappeared from the budget McCrory is signing. The bottom-line is that the state will no longer automatically pay for enrollment increases. County school systems will now have to wait each year until the General Assembly passes a new budget to know how much money they'll have to hire teachers, fund special education, or even staff the school lunchroom.
The change means that the funding of enrollment growth in schools is now purely optional in North Carolina. It opens the door for Our Visionary Rulers to simply mandate that class sizes must grow, teachers must strain even harder to keep up, while meanwhile the for-profit education industry will be as pleased as punch to take those students who can pay.