Today, Governor Roy Cooper visited Washington Gifted and Talented Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh to emphasize the dangerous impacts of extreme legislation proposed by Republican legislators that would dismantle public education in North Carolina in favor of increased taxpayer funding for unaccountable private school vouchers.
“Republican legislators are attempting to drain funding for public schools by pouring taxpayer money into private school vouchers while simultaneously handing wealthy people and corporations more massive tax breaks,” said Governor Cooper. “North Carolina was built on strong support for public schools like Washington Elementary School and we can’t let the legislature tear them down.”
"We are beyond excited to host Governor Roy Cooper at Washington Gifted and Talented Magnet Elementary School. We work hard each day to nurture the gifts and talents of our students,” said Catie Burnette, Principal of Washington Elementary School. “We are grateful to celebrate our recognition as the Top Magnet Elementary School with the community."
"We are proud to spotlight and celebrate Washington Magnet Elementary today with Governor Cooper," said Wake County Public School System Superintendent Catty Moore. "We know that great things happen when we prioritize the success and happiness of every student, every day, while also celebrating, embracing, and reflecting the diversity of the communities we serve."
Legislative Republicans propose pouring billions of dollars in taxpayer money into private schools that are unaccountable to the public and can decide which students they want to admit. Their plan would expand private school vouchers so anyone – even a millionaire – can get taxpayer money for their children’s private school tuition.
Paying for an expanded voucher program will have a dramatic impact on funding for public education. Expanding voucher eligibility to any K-12 student will force public schools, especially those in rural and poorer counties, to make steep cuts, leaving schools without the resources to hire enough teachers and support students.
In FY 2026-27 alone, public schools across the state would see a decline in state funding of more than $203 million. That number is expected to increase as the proposed voucher expansion ramps up in later years.
The proposed expansion, though, would impact counties across the state differently. In FY 2026-27, 31 counties would see a 3% or greater decline in total state funding with an average of $2.9 million loss in state funding. These counties include:
- Northampton County, which would lose $686,000 (8%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Bertie County, which would lose $886,000 (7%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Craven County, which would lose $4.7 million (5%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Cumberland County, which would lose $17.1 million (5%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Madison County, which would lose $830,000 (5%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Pasquotank County, which would lose $1.7 million (5%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Alexander County, which would lose $1.4 million (4%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Lee County, which would lose $2.5 million (4%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Alamance County, which would lose $4.4 million (3%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Gaston County, which would lose $5.8 million (3%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Sampson County, which would lose $2.4 million (3%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone;
- Wayne County, which would lose $4.2 million (3%) in state funding in 2026-27 alone.
See the impact of the proposed expansion on every county here.
Additionally, North Carolina has zero evidence of how students currently enrolled in the private school voucher program perform because there’s no meaningful accountability for student outcomes. In fact, the Opportunity Scholarship Program - the state’s private school voucher program - is the only program of its kind in the nation that doesn’t require rigorous evaluation of student performance.
In a special address yesterday, Governor Cooper outlined sweeping legislation in the NC General Assembly that would choke the life out of public education. These extreme bills would cause public schools to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, exacerbate the state’s teacher shortage and bring political culture wars into the classrooms.
On Tuesday, the Governor visited Washington Elementary School in Raleigh, which has received national recognition for excellence. In April 2023, Magnet Schools of America awarded Washington Elementary with the Elementary Magnet School Merit Award of Excellence. Washington Elementary School was founded in 1923 as the first African American Graded and High School in Raleigh. Washington Elementary School has more than 200 electives for students to choose from.
The Governor is calling on North Carolinians to visit governor.nc.gov to learn more and contact their legislators to ask them to protect public schools.
Watch the Governor’s address.
Read the Governor’s full remarks.
Learn more about North Carolina’s public education emergency.