RALEIGH- The $20.2 billion state budget sitting on Governor Bev Perdue’s desk spends $250 million more on public schools than last year.
But with the loss of $259 million in one time federal stimulus money used to hire 5,400 local school personnel, the 115 school districts across the state will have $189 million less to work with next year, resulting in 3,500 teachers losing their jobs.
While the statistics may spell doom and gloom, the North Carolina tea party members say the cut in funding is a reason to celebrate.
“For too long we have overspent on education in North Carolina and for what?” said Sam Stevens, a 45-year-old Rutherford County resident.
“We’ve spent so much money only for our kids to be spoon fed liberal hypocrisy. The new budget not only reduces our dependence on big government, but also gets us closer to the magic number 50.”
The magic number Stevens refers to the N.C. Association of Educators report, which found North Carolina ranked 49th in the nation per pupil spending on education in 2011-2012. The N.C. Tea Party hopes the recent state budget allows North Carolina to place 50th in per pupil spending.
“As famous NASCAR race driver Ricky Bobby once said, ‘If you ain’t first you’re last,” said Stevens.
“For us it is opposite, if you ain’t last you’re certainly not first. Why waste money on a socialist system like public education?”
Opponents of the state budget argue the education cuts are not necessary and money could be taken from other places to pay for education. North Carolina Policy Watch explains the legislature could close a tax loophole in last year’s budget to pay for education cuts.
“Last year’s Republican budget included a tax cut that was billed as a break for small business, but as it turns out thousands of the state’s wealthiest lawyers and other business partners will also receive the $3,500 break,” according to an article by North Carolina Policy Watch on Friday.
“Limiting the tax cut to small businesses would give lawmakers $141 million to spend on schools, eugenics, public health, and a few other key priorities.”
But the N.C. tea party argues that the state should reward successful small businesses.
“What good have these kids done for the state of North Carolina?” said Stevens.
“Get a job like the rest of us. This is exactly what is wrong with this country. These kids need to understand you have to work to get ahead in this life and their teachers need to apply to what they are really qualified for, daycare.”
Stevens proposes a plan similar to Newt Gingrich, where kids work as janitors to pay for their education. Governor Perdue will have the option to veto the state budget this week.