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Opinion Letters Distinction should be made between state, federal

Yet again, the facts have not fared well in Ed Morris’s hands. His Aug. 30, opinion letter to The Macon County News illustrates his preference for personal bias over truth.

If Federal funds = apples and State funds = oranges, then Morris serves up a fruit salad extraordinaire. Problem is, when one wants to evaluate what the N.C. General Assembly did with the education budget, it is at best disingenuous to omit the distinction between Federal and State funding.

When they controlled the General Assembly, legislative Democrats and John Snow shoved thousands of N.C.’s public school teachers onto the Federal payroll, with full knowledge that this one-time money used to pay teacher salaries would soon run out. To fund teachers with non-recurring revenue was a recipe for disaster.

The 2010-2011 budget Gov. Perdue signed cut 2,783 state-funded teaching positions. The 2009-2010 budget she signed cut 4,701 state-funded teaching positions. We’re beginning to see the impact of Democrats’ decision to shove their responsibilities to the federal government. We’ve added more than a quarter of these jobs back since Republicans have been in the majority.

The current Republican-led legislature showed courage, leadership and fiscal responsibility when they passed the state budget. It increased recurring state-level spending on public K-12 education by $255 million. It fully funded at the state level all classroom teachers. It provided $27 million for an education reform program to strengthen student literacy, improve graduation rates, reward effective teachers, and give parents tools to make better informed decisions about their children’s education. And this same budget provided public school teachers with their first raise in four years.

No more fruit salad, Ed Morris. No more personal bias. The facts are encouraging and worthy of honest discourse. I invite you to join in. My offer of a public debate between you and me still stands.

Jim Davis — Franklin, N.C.


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