My long time friend Senator Jim Davis recently met with local citizens regarding the newly passed N.C. budget and its resulting impact upon education. Senator Davis stated:
• He strongly values and supports NC public education.
• He believes More at Four program is very effective and valuable.
• He believes professional development and continuing education is important, necessary, and valuable for our teachers.
• The recent tax cuts reducing revenue was less than the cuts to public education.
• The public education cuts were only one half of one percent. After researching the State budget, however, I found the following facts about what Senator Davis actually voted for:
• More at Four program was cut by 11.5 percent ($32 million); additionally 80 percent of participants would have a “co-payment” denying many low-income families from participating in this valuable program.
• $18.4 million was cut from teacher mentoring program; $25.2 million was cut for staff development; $9.5 million was cut totally eliminating funding for the Teacher Academy.
• Teaching Fellows, a college scholarship for future teachers, funding was totally eliminated
• 5.79 percent was the total amount ($459 million) cut from the current budget for public education not one half of one percent
• The $1.3 billion in lost revenue from one-penny reduction in sales tax, and lower income tax for the wealthiest and N.C. corporations far exceeds the $459 million in cuts to public education.
• Education funding was dramatically cut as were the revenues paying for these programs. At the same time the gas tax, which supports only highway development, was raised 2.5 cents per gallon, increasing these taxes by about $125 million per year. Is education or highways valued more by Senator Davis?
The very basis of our democracy is that citizens can govern themselves by debating on the basis of truthful evidence. When our public officials cloud the public’s ability to discern the truth by giving false or misleading information, the foundation of our democratic government is shaken.
Ed Morris, MD, PhD — Franklin, N.C.