Recently, State Superior Court Judge David Lee issued the latest order in the Leandro v. State lawsuit – directing the state to address the longstanding violation of the constitutional right of North Carolina public school children to a “sound basic education”, by implementing a comprehensive funding plan developed by the state itself.
The Comprehensive Remedial Plan adopted by the State Board of Education and Gov. Roy Cooper’s administration provides a funding blueprint for lawmakers. Cooper’s latest budget proposal pays for the first two years of the plan, while the Senate’s budget provides a small percentage of what the remedial plan shows is needed.
- The Republican-led state Senate’s latest state budget prioritizes wealthy and corporations tax cuts over meaningful investments in education, health care, child care — shortchanging educators through a measly 1.5 percent annual pay raise and falling short in providing adequate funding for public school districts.
- “The Senate’s decision to violate their constitutional responsibility to public school students is one driven by nothing but spite for the 1.5 million children in our schools,” said Kris Nordstrom, a senior policy analyst with the Education & Law Project of the NC Justice Center.
- Republican’s failure to provide enough funding for improved access to quality education for all children across North Carolina is nothing new. For years, lawmakers have failed to provide adequate and equitable funding to school districts — leading to an ever growing disparity in student funding between the wealthiest and poorest counties.
After more than a decade of deep cuts in public education spending, the Leandro remedial plan calls for the state to increase school funding, and given the state’s surplus in addition to federal funding, lawmakers have the opportunity to make the most significant investments needed to support our public schools.
As stated in a recent editorial, “Judge Lee has set the stage for legislators to step up and fulfill their solemn constitutional duty to North Carolina’s public school children. Nothing less than the state’s future health and vitality hangs in the balance”.