CJ: Education activists, Dems, want to spend big on education despite COVID-19 budget constraints

RALEIGH – Not having much money to spend has rarely stopped lovers of Big Government from spending entirely too much, still. That trend is replaying now with calls from activists on the Left and Democrats in the N.C. General Assembly to surge education spending while tax revenues face their most severe, mandated drop in living memory.

Despite the fact that Governor Roy Cooper’s mandated shutdowns of much of the economy resulted in the drastic drop off in tax collections, they propose an extra half-billion in education spending. Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington notwithstanding, the Left has apparently not completed its woke indoctrination program.

Lindsay Marchello at the Carolina Journal explores the new education spending proposal spurred by a controversial court decision that plays right into the class/cultural warfare going on today.

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From CJ:

“Education activists and Democratic lawmakers want to spend more on education, even as the state faces a massive budget shortfall and is entering a potentially disastrous hurricane season.

Every child in North Carolina has a right to a sound, basic education, according to the landmark Leandro case. The state for years has grappled with how to meet that standard. 

Parties to the case on Monday, June 15, released an action plan detailing the first steps in complying with Leandro, which includes a $427-million price tag. The plan comes as lawmakers and financial analysts warn of how COVID-19 could result in a deficit for the budget year starting July 1 approaching $5 billion. 

“It is not feasible to ask for this amount of money in this economic environment,” said Terry Stoops, vice president of research and director of education studies at the John Locke Foundation.

The parties had 60 days to present a short-term plan, but the deadline was extended to June 15. The presiding judge, David Lee, is expected to soon disclose his order outlining the state’s obligations in complying with Leandro. 

The Leandro action plan calls for the state to invest an additional $426,990,610 in the new budget year to satisfy the court’s mandate. 

The action plan considers budget constraints, but it says the state should commit “to meeting the actions in a future fiscal year of the eventual eight-year plan.”

Much of the rhetoric surrounding Leandro has talked about it as a constitutional mandate, which must be fulfilled regardless of economic restraints, Stoops said. 

A handful of Democratic representatives introduced two bills to spend a combined $141 million more on public education as a first step toward complying with the Leandro standards. House Bill 1129 and House Bill 1130 would allocate money to expand a variety of education programs and job positions. 

“The biggest problem facing our communities’ schools is lack of resources and support,” Rep. Julie von Haefen, D-Wake, said Tuesday during a news conference on the bills. “Funding public education is necessary to ensure each child gets the instruction and attention they need to be fully prepared for success in life.”

The state is facing anywhere between a $3 billion to $5 billion deficit because of COVID-19, but Democratic lawmakers and education activists said spending on schools remains a priority.  [CONTINUE READING]

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