MEDIA RELEASE: North Carolina’s School Funding Cuts Among the Nation’s Deepest

Cuts Hurt Economy in Short- and Long-Term

RALEIGH (September 4, 2012) – Last week as students returned to school in North Carolina, the impact of state spending cuts to a range of critical educational investments was apparent in communities across the state.

According to a report released this morning by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan policy research organization based in Washington, D.C, North Carolina ranks 9th worst in the country in depth of cuts to school funding since the start of the recession. These cuts put the state’s economy and long-term prosperity in jeopardy and undermine the potential for effective education reform.

“These cuts have undermined our ability to educate North Carolina’s children and there will be consequences for North Carolina’s economy,” said Alexandra Sirota, director of the Budget and Tax Center, a project of the North Carolina Justice Center. “Good schools and an educated workforce foster economic growth, and we are shooting ourselves in the foot by reducing our investment in education.”

The recession caused state revenue to decline sharply. But instead of addressing budget shortfalls by taking a balanced approach that includes new revenues, in the past two years, North Carolina relied very heavily on cuts to state services, including education.

“Educating children can’t be done on the cheap,” said Chris Hill, Director of the Education and Law Project, also a project of the North Carolina Justice Center, “Cutting state spending on education impacts the classroom and generates a host of additional costs for children, their families and the broader community.”

As North Carolina’s leaders seek to undertake education reform, state funding cuts have hindered the ability to effectively implement the evidence-based practices that can improve educational experiences and student outcomes. The elimination of funding for professional development for teachers, the reduction in the state’s investment in NC’s pre-kindergarten program, and the overall pressure on classrooms and individual attention created by fewer teachers in the classroom will undermine student’s success and the ability to achieve long-term improvements in educational experience and outcomes for all.

“Across much of the country, kids are going back to school to find more crowded classrooms, and – in some cases — shorter school weeks,” said Phil Oliff, policy analyst at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and author of the report released today. “That’s no way to develop our future workforce and build a strong economy.”

The Center’s full report can be found at this link.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT: Alexandra Forter Sirota, Budget & Tax Center Director, alexandra@ncjustice.org, 919.861.1468; Christopher Hill, Director of the Education & Law Project, chill@ncjustice.org, 919.856.2567; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, jeff@ncjustice.org, 503.551.3615 (mobile).

 

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