N.C. lawmakers must adequately fund schools
Warren County School Superintendent Ray Spain rightly called the legislature’s actions – in which lawmakers appropriated money for schools but then mandated that districts make “discretionary” cuts and return it back to the state – as robbery “at gunpoint.” Retiring McDowell County Superintendent Ira Trollinger was also right to say that the state’s political leaders had failed N.C. children.
Preserving a temporary sales tax while the economy recovers from its biggest hit since the Great Depression could have helped ameliorate the situation. It surely would have put the districts in better shape as they face the end of federal stimulus money that the state used to pay teachers and that school districts used as a cushion against cuts last year. Instead, the Republican-dominated N.C. legislature unwisely cut those and other taxes. As a result, school districts like Scotland County, where the unemployment rate is a whopping 17.8 percent, had to cut nearly 200 school jobs.