Report On Education From Public Schools First NC

The Continuing Push to Pass HB13

This week, Public Schools First NC (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) participated in Save Our Schools, NC Parents for HB13’s rally in support of the class size restriction fix. A crowd of hundreds came out to ask the NC Senate to pass the bill, which the House unanimously approved in February.

It would restore the flexibility districts use to pay for Art, Music, PE, and (if they’re really lucky!) Technology teachers. The class sizes mandated by last year’s budget eliminated that funding mechanism even though it is the only way districts have to pay for instruction that the state requires. There is no separate funding for these specials teachers.

How did we reach the point districts are essentially hostages while being blamed for impending teaching cuts? The real issue is clear: Our schools are underfunded.

The state has not restored funds that were cut since the beginning of the Recession. Consider these facts:

7,884 state funded teaching assistant positions cut since 2008-09

In 2013, the state increased K-12 class sizes in order to reduce the amount spent on teachers and even when they restored K-1 ratios in 2014, they CUT $105 million for Teacher Assistants.

In 2015, the legislature provided NO increase in funding for classroom teachers.

Last year, the budget added only $27 million to reduce first grade class size, knowing FULL WELL that the same pot of money pays for crucial Art, Music, and PE instruction. Legislative analysts told lawmakers at the time the impact this would have on our elementary schools.

Bottom line: Over the past decade the state has decreased K-12 funding. School districts are receiving about $600 less per student than in 2008. We are 43rd in the nation!

If we funded our schools just at the national average, school districts would have $3,000 more PER STUDENT to spend making these false choices unnecessary.

Late on Friday afternoon (April 21), HB13 was referred to the Senate Committee on Education/Higher Education, which meets next on Monday April 24 at 6PM, though the bill is not currently on the calendar. It is crucial that the Senate act quickly because districts must budget for the coming year RIGHT now. The Senate needs to pass HB13, and the entire legislature must commit to fully funding our public schools!

Public Schools First NC

 

 

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