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Video: Superintendent Mark Johnson still doesn't get it on teacher pay comments, NC deserves more leadership and less whining

According to the News & Observer, State Superintendent Mark Johnson described the base starting salary of $35,000 for teachers was “good money” and “a lot of money” for people in their mid-20s. Johnson’s comments were criticized by some school board members for failing to reflect all of the challenges faced by teachers. In tuesday’s Council of State meeting, Johnson doubled down on his comments.

Johnson likes to tout his classroom experience, having spent two years in the classroom, two on a local school board, and having just finished his first year as Superinendent. With those 5 years of experience in public education, if he were still on the teacher pay scale he’d be making $38,300 – less than a third of the $127,561 he currently makes with the same amount of experience in public education as an elected official.

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North Carolina Legislator Profile: Rep. Holly Grange (R-New Hanover)

In this Real Facts Legislator Profile, we focus on Representative Holly Grange, the first-term Republican from District 20. She was elected in 2016 after a contentious Republican primary decided the seat as there was no Democratic challenger. Grange currently chairs the House Select Committee on North Carolina River Quality, a committee created in the aftermath of the GenX crisis in her district. She also sits on the Appropriations on Education Committee. 

Source: Holly Grange For NC HouseSource: Holly Grange For NC House

"The idea of shutting down Chemours might make some folks feel better, but we hope the DuPont spinoff stays open as long as it's no longer taining the water." - Rep. Holly Grange (Wilmington Star News, 7/29/17)

Grange’s priority as a lawmaker are clear, instead of looking out for middle class families in her district she’s protecting the wealthy and well connected. Grange’s district is suffering from the aftermath of the GenX spill, and her solution is to get rid of environmental protections for big business. She altered the language of the budget to fund a state aquarium to be built on a prominent Wilmington developer’s “mega-development.” She ran on teacher pay, but voted for a budget that failed to raise their salaries to the national average while per pupil spending has actually gone down over the last school year. 

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Legislator Profile: Scott Stone and Andy Dulin (R-Mecklenburg)

In the next two installments of Real Facts NC's series of legislator profiles we focus on Charlotte-area representatives Scott Stone and Andy Dulin. 

Stone was appointed to the District 105 seat by former Gov. Pat McCrory in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term after winning the election in November. Before serving in the NC House, Stone had tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics: he ran for the Arlington County Board in 1996 and ran for Charlotte mayor in 2011 and 2015. Rep. Scott Stone did not think the NCGA should change HB2 until Charlotte changed its own ordinance, even though HB2 cost Charlotte at least $100 million and he opposed all parts of Charlotte’s non-discrimination ordinance, including protection for LGBT community. Stone claims he is concerned about education, but supported a Republican budget that shortchanges NC teachers and students. Read more on Stone here

Similarly, Dulin was elected to the District 104 seat in 2016 and is currently serving his first full term. Before serving in the NC House, Dulin tried and failed at least three times to enter the world of politics outside the Charlotte City Council. He ran for the Mecklenburg County Commission in 2004, ran for NC Senate in the 2008 primary, and Congress in 2012. Dulin is an out-of-touch member of Charlotte’s elite, putting his own advancement above the will of constituents and pushing the needs of corporations over students and teachers. Additionally, Dulin supported a measure that would make nondiscrimination ordinances subject to referendum less than a year after HB2 cost Charlotte millions. Read more on Dulin here

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Unconstitutional GOP majority proposes budget—our first take

This unconstitutionally elected Republican majority continues to legislate, not on behalf of the people of North Carolina, but on behalf of their billionaire backers. Instead of protecting the middle class and building world-class public schools, this budget gives tax breaks to billionaires. Under this budget, North Carolina will keep falling behind when it doesn’t have to.

  • The Republican budget fails our schools, middle class families, and the future of our economy at a time when we do not have to.
  • Cooper found a way to raise teacher pay more than 5% next year. Republicans only offer 3.3%. Instead of investing in classrooms, Republicans are giving millions in tax breaks to billionaires.
  • Cooper offered free community college for high school graduates, money to help teachers pay for out-of-pocket expenses, and eliminated the waitlist for pre-K. Republicans did none of those things.
  • Under this budget, we are still spending less that we did before the recession per student, teachers are still underpaid, and we have seven thousand fewer teaching assistants than we did in 2008.
  • Instead of prioritizing education, Republicans are undercutting our kids and it’s our economy that will suffer as North Carolina falls farther and farther behind other states and competitors like China and India. 

In addition to education, the GOP budget fails to provide for critical areas of need for rural North Carolina - including broadband and economic development..

  • Governor Cooper's budget invests $20 million to expand access to broadband and improve the economy of rural North Carolina, while the Republican budget would spend $250,000 on state IT bureaucrats.
  • Cooper proposed $30 million for a ready-sites program to attract new jobs to rural areas. The Republican budget leaves rural areas behind, choosing to spend only $2 million on ready-sites.

The GOP budget also wastes money on projects of the extreme right:

  • The Republican budget spends $1.3 million on an anti-abortion advocacy group that masquerades as a provider of health services to women, pushing dangerous and misleading propaganda on vulnerable women.
  • The GOP spends $40 million on private school vouchers which send tax dollars to unaccountable private and religious schools.

 

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2017 North Carolina Senate Budget - Quick Takeaways

It’s clear from Senate Republicans’ proposed budget that they are determined to follow their same misguided priorities - placing the millionaires and billionaires that fund their campaigns ahead of the needs of everyday North Carolinians. When compared to the governor's budget, this budget falls short in several key ways:

  • Cooper’s plan is a realistic plan to get teacher pay to the national average in five years and raises teacher pay by 5% this year. The Senate plan only raises teacher pay 3.7%.
  • Every teacher gets a raise under the Cooper plan. Under the Senate plan, the most veteran teachers get no raise at all.
  • Cooper’s budget invests $8 million more in textbooks and increases per pupil spending by almost $200 more than the Senate plan.
  • Instead of eliminating the wait list for Pre-K or providing for tuition-free community college as Governor Cooper did, Republicans have chosen to spend another $44 million on private school vouchers.

Instead of investing in schools, the Republican leaders in the Senate are willing to give away hundreds of millions of dollars on tax breaks for billionaires and giant corporations.

This plan would give millionaires a tax cut 60 times the size of what middle class families would receive.

Since Republicans have taken control of the state legislature they’ve chosen millionaires before the middle class every step of the way. Under the Senate plan, eighty percent of state tax breaks since 2013 went to the wealthiest North Carolinians.

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NCGA Budget Negotiations Drag On: Who’s Getting Cut?

So what’s going to get cut? With the House agreeing to drop its proposal to sell more lottery tickets, there is no more increased revenue on the table in the budget conference committee. To pay for a teacher pay increase something or someone is going to get cut. Who is it going to …

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Election Week Memo: Education and the Environment Won the 2014 Election

Download Memo (PDF) To: Interested Parties From: Real Facts NC Date: October 30, 2014 Re: Education and the Environment Won the 2014 Election No matter which candidates win on Nov. 4—from county commissioner to U.S. Senate—it is clear public education and the environment d…

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