As a former member of the Wake County Board of Education, I was the school board representative who successfully fought for your child’s ability to attend the school you wanted them to and not be uprooted from their community.
As your State Representative, I have fought for more Education Funding. When you look at the six budgets since 2011, Republicans have led the way with 6 successive budget increases in Education spending.
Teachers have received an average 7.2 percent pay raise. Average salaries are now exceeding $50,000 with supplemental pay. We’ve re-instituted a Step Program which had been taken from them in the past. Also, I have publicly argued and voted for more money for books. In addition to 4 years on the HHS (Health and Human Services) committee, I have actively supported:
- 5 Straight Pay Increases in the last 6 years
- The fastest growth in raises in the country from 2014-2017
- Lowered class sizes
- Major legislation that gives any child who scores a 5 on EOGS a chance
- The end to the Pre K waiting list (which is now gone)
- Taking Smart Start to the market rate and beyond
Some say that if we increased spending by population and inflation our numbers would be far greater. My response to this theoretical rhetoric is that as a Representative of the people I am tasked with dealing with reality. The very certain reality that you can only spend what you collect in taxes. Interestingly in 2014 the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities did a study that showed 75% of all states, red and blue alike, were still digging themselves out of the recession and hadn’t reached the 2008 revenue numbers our opponents like to mention all the time. We surpassed 2008 spending in 2015 with amongst other things the largest teacher pay in the country and followed it up with more spending (giving teachers another well-deserved additional bump in salary) in 2016.
I understand that the legislature prior to 2011 didn’t create the recession but they were in charge and had to make tough choices. They cut education by 1.3 plus billion. Those cuts are their responsibility, not ours. They cut textbooks by 99.9% and now complain we are only most of the way out of the pit they left us. They proclaim themselves the true teachers’ friend.
Let’s talk about that. They ended the $1,500 bonuses teachers got for EOG scores in their classes. They froze teachers’ pay. They call it the Step Program that benchmarks their pay increases for as long as they were employed. We undid that freeze and reformed the Step Program so that it only took 25 years (instead of 32) to get to the 50k mark. They even furloughed teachers, sending them home unpaid. They chose an awful 36 million dollars cut from the budget to do that while spending 25 million on a pier! That’s right. They chose a piece of wood over teachers’ livelihood.
Even if we are simply going to chalk those recession cuts to bad but well-intentioned choices we have to admit one thing. From the outset I have shown a commitment to Education the other side does not want to make allowances for, let alone respect. You can see those 6 successive budget increases in six years and see the truth. I am dedicated to education.
I want the best for your kids and our collective future. My personal promise to you is that I will make certain that in every decision I put the welfare of teachers and your kids needs front and center.