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Tuesday, June 20, 2023
Governor Cooper Hosts Education Roundtable in Guilford County, Speaks with Education Leaders About NC General Assembly’s Plans to Dismantle Public Education
Today, Governor Roy Cooper hosted a roundtable discussion about the extreme NC General Assembly legislation that would undermine and underfund public education.
Jun 20, 2023
Today, Governor Roy Cooper hosted a roundtable discussion about the extreme NC General Assembly legislation that would undermine and underfund public education. At Western Guilford Middle School, the Governor was joined by school board leaders, superintendents, educators and local elected officials to discuss how these bills would have devastating impacts for North Carolina students, families and businesses.
“This extreme legislation would cause public schools to lose hundreds of millions of dollars through the expansion of private school vouchers to the wealthiest among us,” said Governor Cooper. “Education leaders from across the state are calling on legislators to invest in public education to support our children, teachers, families and future.”
“Public education is the foundation of our state and nation,” said Wendi Craven, Ed.S., Chair of the Burke County Public Schools Board of Education. “When it is dismantled and improperly funded, the American experiment will fail.”
"Public schools are the backbone of our state and the hub of our communities, especially in rural North Carolina, where in Mount Airy City Schools we have attracted 93% of our market share,” said Dr. Kim Morrison, Superintendent of Mount Airy City Schools. “We need industry and community partners along with our families to rally behind their school, and behind all public schools."
"We cannot afford to be the best state for businesses and the worst in education. We need the North Carolina General Assembly to help increase teacher pay to attract the best teachers possible to teach our students," said Dr. Whitney Oakley, Superintendent of Guilford County Schools. "We must make North Carolina #1 in teacher pay. We also need the NC General Assembly to increase pay for frontline workers, bus drivers, custodial staff, maintenance workers, plumbers, electricians and technology staff. They are essential to the success of our schools."
“Public school education across North Carolina is definitely in a crisis, and students, families, and educators alike are all affected as a result,” said Tiffany Wynn, a middle school science teacher in Thomasville City Schools and the 2023 Piedmont-Triad Regional Teacher of the Year. “I believe it is important to be more inclusive of the opinions and ideas of those who are most directly impacted by the decisions which are made with regards to public education, and this can definitely be accomplished by building relationships with our students, families and educators since we are the groups who are the most influenced or even hindered based upon the decisions of lawmakers.”
This discussion was held in Guilford County where the local school board and county commissioners have passed resolutions calling on legislators to invest in public education. Education leaders in over 30 school districts are speaking out to oppose the dangerous legislation that would gut funding for public education.
Republicans have pushed a series of sweeping legislation that would dismantle 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 classrooms. The bills 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.
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 be projected to 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 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.
In a special address, Governor Cooper declared a State of Emergency for Education and called on North Carolinians to visit governor.nc.gov to learn more and contact their legislators to ask them to protect public schools.