Thursday, May 9, 2024

Governor Cooper Tours Annie H. Snipes Academy of Arts & Design in Wilmington During Teacher Appreciation Week, Highlights How Strong Public Schools Make Strong Communities Gov. Cooper Declared 2024 as “The Year of Public Schools”

May 9, 2024

Today, Governor Roy Cooper celebrated Teacher Appreciation Week at Annie H. Snipes Academy of Arts & Design in Wilmington as part of “The Year of Public Schools” education tour. The Governor was joined by teachers, students, local and state education leaders and local elected officials as he highlighted the outstanding work being done at Annie H. Snipes Academy of Arts & Design and how public education is strengthening North Carolina’s communities.

The Governor again called for fully funding K-12 education as well as meaningful investments in early childhood education and teacher pay in the upcoming legislative session. The Governor also called for a stop to state spending on vouchers for unaccountable and unregulated private schools until North Carolina’s public schools are fully funded.

“Teachers at Snipes Academy and across North Carolina encourage students to reach for their dreams,” said Governor Cooper. “For Teacher Appreciation Week, I am urging legislators to support our teachers through investments in our public schools and child care system.”

The Governor recently announced his FY24-25 budget that includes investments in North Carolina public schools and early childhood and child care system. The Governor’s budget would raise teacher pay by 8.5% and invest over $1 billion in public schools while placing a moratorium on taxpayer-funded private school vouchers.

“What an exciting time at Snipes Academy to be able to highlight the great work our staff and students do each day,” said Snipes Academy Principal Rachel Manning. “We are appreciative of the Governor's support for public education and for highlighting our amazing school.”

"It's an honor to have Governor Cooper celebrate our schools again, particularly during Teacher Appreciation Week. Our teachers and leaders at Snipes Academy have built a vibrant and inclusive school culture where they are focused on student achievement, and their dedication paid off when they increased a letter grade and met growth targets last year,” said New Hanover Superintendent Dr. Charles Foust. “We are proud to show Governor Cooper the excellence of our students and staff."

In New Hanover County, 87% of school-aged children attend public schools, and public schools in New Hanover County and across the state excel at preparing students for success from cradle to career.

  • The 2023 graduation rate for New Hanover County was 88.4%.
  • In 2023, North Carolina public school students earned more than 325,000 workforce credentials while in high school. More than 1,900 of those workforce credentials were earned by New Hanover County students.
  • In 2023, more than one-third of North Carolina high school graduates and 51% of graduates from New Hanover County took a college course for credit while in high school.
  • North Carolina has the highest number of National Board-certified teachers in the country (over 24,000), including 225 in New Hanover County.

However, Republican legislators continue to push policies that undermine and politicize public education. The budget enacted by the legislature last year expanded the private school voucher program by $250 million over the next two years, for a total of $4 billion over the next ten years.

  • Under the expanded voucher program, public schools in New Hanover County could lose over $1.8 million in state education funding just in the first year of the expanded program. That loss in funding not only impacts students, but also the New Hanover County workforce. Public schools are the second employer in New Hanover County.

Republican legislators have also shown their top priority during the short session will be using more taxpayer money to fund private school vouchers for millionaires by proposing yet another expansion that will amount to more than $625 million in new funding just for the 2024-2025 fiscal year. In response, Democratic legislative leaders filed new legislation that would place a moratorium on more taxpayer-funded private school vouchers until our public schools are fully funded and put additional accountability metrics in place for private schools to ensure student success.

During his final year as Governor, Gov. Cooper is committed to prioritizing public schools and to hearing from the many communities across the state who know that strong public schools ensure we have strong communities.

Read the “Teacher Appreciation Week” proclamation here.

Read "The Year of Public Schools" proclamation here.

Read the Governor’s remarks from “The Year of Public Schools” launch event here.

Read more about the truth of North Carolina's voucher program here.


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