THAT is the proclamation of one Rob Schofield — Bert to Chris “Blinkin’ ” Fitzsimon’s Ernie — as the WRAL subsidiary that employs that dynamic duo tunes up for the 2015 BlueprintNC offensive. (And we MEAN offensive). :
There have been multiple stories in recent days detailing the destructive impact that conservative budget and tax policy is having on essential public structures and services in North Carolina. During a time in which most states are rebounding and expanding public investments, North Carolina continues to muddle along and scrimp by like one of Art Pope’s weathered, low-rent chain stores. […]
Gee, what an angry, bitter young man. And we don’t have to remind you that those Pope-owned stores do a great job of serving the working poor that ol’ Bert and Ernie claim to champion. Schofield goes on to cite an article his sidekick Blinkin’ Chris wrote about the supplies shortage in Rockingham County schools. Gosh, how convenient. THAT is the home county of senate president pro tem Phil Berger. And never mind that county’s school system is busting at the seams with all kinds of positive achievements. (Here, too.)
It’s a shame, but you can’t rely on people like Bert and Ernie, here, or their comrades in the drive-by media for accurate info on public education spending. You have to talk with people close to the process on Jones Street and read resources like, oh, US.
According to data from the NEA, North Carolina taxpayers spend $8,757 on each student per year — aka that “per pupil expenditure” stat that Bert, Ernie, the drive-bys and other lefties like to crow about. New York state spends the most per-pupil at $18,616. New Mexico ranks in the middle of the pack at $10,203 per-pupil. Arizona spends the least at $6,683 per-pupil. The report puts us in North Carolina at 45th. Lefties like to latch on to that.
What Bert, Ernie and the drive-bys don’t want to mention is that North Carolina public schools — according to NC DPI — receive among the highest percentages of their funding from state dollars, ranking 11th in the nation and 2nd in the Southeast. Yep. *Starving schools. Drowning them in the bathtub.*
Nationally, public K-12 education is funded by three sources: federal dollars, state dollars, and local dollars. In North Carolina, the feds pony up roughly sixteen percent of K-12 funding. State government picks up most of the tab — contributing a little over sixty percent. Local governments contribute less than a quarter of the cost of educating our kids.
Altogether in North Carolina, approximately $12 billion in government funds are spent on on K-12 education every year . (That doesn’t include the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on school buildings and the debt used to build and maintain them.)
In other states, public schools are funded primarily by local governments — with property taxes and bonds — and not with state dollars.. North Carolina’s counties and cities COULD chose to spend more on education, but they don’t.
In 2012, DPI reported that 90 percent of the $7.2 BILLION in state funding went to pay teachers and administrators and cover their benefits. NINETY percent, ladies and gentlemen. The state only sets the base pay rate for teachers. Local governments offer supplementary and bonus pay. The actual pay rate for teachers gets determined locally. In other words, talk to your school board and superintendent about teacher pay.
In 2013, Asheville City schools paid their resigning superintendent a goodbye gift of $175,000 — on top of his already six-figure salary. In 2014, the Asheville City Council voted to give $2 million to a non-profit that runs an art museum. THAT money COULD have gone toward various needs within the public school system. But, it didn’t.
Bert and Ernie suggest that supply shortages in public schools are unique to the GOP era in Raleigh. I remember an incident that occurred here in Moore County during the Mike Easley era. Some elementary school students came to my Rotary Club’s meeting to beg for a donation to pay for a playground at their school. Our then-superintendent was in the audience — beaming with pride.
State legislators do not decide whether Miss Jones at Asheboro High School gets a pay raise. They don’t decide whether Short Pump Elementary gets a few extra coloring books. They appropriate a lump sum to the school systems, and the local folks decide where the money goes. Again, if you have a problem with spending priorities in your local system, you need to have a talk with your local school officials.