Gov. Roy Cooper declares public education ‘state of emergency’ due to NCGOP’s ‘extreme legislation’

Gov. Roy Cooper declares public education ‘state of emergency’ due to NCGOP’s ‘extreme legislation’

Public education in North Carolina “is facing a state of emergency” due to Republicans’ “extreme legislation,” Gov. Roy Cooper declared in May.

Because of the NCGOP’s supermajority in the legislature, the House and Senate can – and did – propose two terrible budgets. Their supermajority also means that Republicans don’t need to work with the governor on any sort of compromise because they have the votes to override a potential Cooper veto.

Cooper accused Republican legislators of trying to “starve public education” and said that, “It’s clear that the Republican legislature is aiming to choke the life out of public education. I am declaring this state of emergency because you need to know what’s happening.

“If you care about public schools in North Carolina, it’s time to take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage that will set back our schools for a generation,” he continued.

Here is a short comparison between the budget proposals:

  • The governor’s budget proposal calls for an average teacher pay raise of 18% and includes funding for school bus drivers, counselors and other school staff.  House Republicans’ budget proposal offers a 5.5% average raise for teachers and the Senate’s proposal was a meager 4.5%.
  • The governor’s budget would also fully fund the Leandro Plan for public education. The Senate budget would expand the Opportunity Scholarship program so that any family, regardless of income, could apply for vouchers to attend a private school. The private school program would cost public schools $200 million or more, according to the Office of State Budget and Management.
  • The House budget fails to meet Leandro funding numbers, offers less in child care investments, and features no bonuses for teachers and state workers (Cooper’s budget does). Their budget also prioritizes blocking COVID-19 vaccine requirements.

Following his declaration, Cooper visited schools across the state to call on parents, educators, and business leaders to speak against the legislature’s proposals. 

Some members of the public took Cooper’s announcement to heart and protested the budget. Rev. William Barber led more than 100 protesters in a rally inside the state legislative building, decrying proposals in the budget that would only benefit the state’s wealthiest residents while leaving the poor to suffer.

Patrick Zarcone

Stay Informed