One of the largest concerns for current students, prospective students, faculty, and staff in the UNC system is how the state legislature, which controls nearly all of the system’s overall budget, selects and interacts with the System’s leadership. Looking at political contributions made by the Board of Governors, the governing body of the UNC system, and to NC lawmakers who make the appointments brings to light how budgetary and other crucial decisions about the UNC System are made.
Sen. Wesley Meredith (R-Cumberland) was the only original NC Promise Plan sponsor to receive contributions from current members of the BOG. His biggest contributor is Michael Williford, who contributed a total of $24,700 to Meredith between 2012 and 2018. Williford was appointed to the Board in 2015, and received his JD from NCCU, another HBCU within the system that is not slated to be deeply impacted by the Promise Plan, but is currently facing criticism for erasing the culture of the university.
The 2017-2018 Budget made waves amongst affiliates and community members of the UNC system when it became clear that significant budget cuts would impact several colleges and universities, especially the system’s five HBCUs.
Since 2011 the UNC system has dealt with cuts,including $414 million in 2011 after Republicans gained control of the legislature. The system faced financial aid tuition revenue caps and the consolidation of 46 degree programs. The original version of the 2017 Budget included a $4 million cut to the UNC School of Law that was reduced to $500,000 in compromises before the budget’s final passage. Senate Bill 99, the 2018 Budget, included new changes to create the NC Promise Plan.
The NC Promise Plan was sold as an attempt to address the growing college affordability crisis. Claims of enrollment increases at impacted universities have sparked celebrations of the renewed accessibility of higher education in NC. However, the budget language about NC Promise is cause for concern about the longevity of the universities impacted
Section 10.5 G.S. 116-143.11 says “the State shall ‘buy down’ the amount of any financial obligation resulting from the established tuition rate that may be incurred by Elizabeth City State University, the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and Western Carolina…” A buy down is a mortgage-financing technique where the buyer attempts to obtain a lower interest rate. According to Business Insider, buy downs usually cause the property seller to raise the purchase price to compensate for the costs of the buy down.Read More
On Thursday morning North Carolina parents and caretakers with a child in NC public schools opened their inboxes to find an email about school safety from Superintendent Mark Johnson with the subject line “School Safety: A Message from NC Superintendent Mark Johnson.”
This message would alarm most parents, perhaps expecting an update about threats to school safety or specific action steps the school plans to take. Instead, Johnson offered tepid commitments in a form email that one expects to receive in campaign correspondence, not an educational necessity. Johnson, with likely 2020 aspirations, may be testing the waters of the DPI listserv as a way to get his name out.
It is not as if Mark Johnson has been free from scandal. In September 2018, Johnson appointed Joe Maimone as his chief of staff, the same man who once claimed that public schools were “milking” federal free and reduced lunch dollars. Moreover, Johnson and Maimone are not so far separated from the Charter School Industrial Complex™, or TeamCFA and Achievement for All Children, a network of charter schools funded by the religious right.
Yarborough simply follows his Republican colleagues lead and votes in line with his party, which has resulted in a lack of public education funding in North Carolina. Yarborough voted for multiple Republican budgets, all of which failed to meaningfully increase teacher pay and left NC nearly…Read More
The wait is over- early voting began today.
For the past eight years a Republican supermajority in the North Carolina General Assembly has delivered crushing blows to the health, economic security, and safety of the people in the state. Beginning with then-House Speaker and now North Carolina Senator Thom Tillis’ “Divide and Conquer” approach to the most vulnerable populations in the state, Republican leadership has entrenched an institutional disdain for anyone who is not at the top of the economic ladder.
Here are ten issues at stake in this year’s election to think about when you approach the ballot box! Happy voting!Read More
Dulin places his own advancement above the wants and needs of his constituents. Dulin has called himself a “constituent services guru;” however, he has voted against the desires of those he represents, preferring to ignore constituents in favor of campaign contributions from corporations. He won a seat in the NC House in 2016 following unsuccessful runs for the Republican nomination in the 9th congressional district, NC Senate District 39 against Bob Rucho, and the Mecklenburg County Board of Commissioners. He has been noted for his confidence and calls his political skills “The Dulin Factor.”
Instead of standing up for the needs of his constituents, Dulin consistently played follow-the-leader with his Republican colleagues in Raleigh.
Republicans in the General Assembly have repeatedly denied North Carolinians affordable healthcare. Dulin and his party used a procedural vote to block Medicaid expansion to rural North Carolina. Dulin also voted to pass an amended bill originally touted as school safety legislation after Senate Republicans added provisions that would drive up insurance premiums and allow providers to price out preexisting conditions.
Dulin voted for the 2017 Republican budget that prioritized tax cuts over funding public education and has always advocated for cutting funding from public schools. In 2004 he said CMS can do with what they are given, and “what they're given [,,,] is enough.” Meanwhile, per pupil spending remains below pre-recession levels in North Carolina. The 2017 budget also allocated $45 million to private school voucher programs, siphoning money from public education.
Following the school shooting in Parkland, FL, Dulin sponsored a “school safety” bill that included no provisions on gun safety or mental health. Republican leadership blocked gun debate, pushing the narrative that guns are irrelevant to school safety. Dulin does not own a gun, but has said, “By golly, that second amendment is there for a reason.”
Continue reading to learn more about Dulin.
Source: Charlotte ObserverRead More
Jonathan Jordan was elected in 2010 and has served four terms. Previously working for the right-wing John Locke Foundation, Jordan has maintained his strong relationship with the group’s founder, Art Pope. Since being in office, he has accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from associated groups and consistently voted for legislation in line with Pope’s radical right-wing vision for North Carolina. North Carolina deserves a legislator that will put the needs of North Carolina first, not wealthy benefactors.
Jordan has spent his eight years in the legislature undermining education in NC. Because of Jordan’s votes, education remains insufficiently funded. North Carolina teacher pay has not meaningfully increased during Jordan’s time in office. Jordan has supported legislation that takes money away from public education and diverts it to private schools, prioritizing his private interests over the wellbeing of students across the state. To make it even worse, Jordan has accepted campaign contributions from groups who do not care about North Carolina’s future for education. Jordan cares more about his own pocket than our teachers and students.
Jordan voted against expanding Medicaid to North Carolinians, causing costs to skyrocket for all North Carolinians and especially those who need it the most – it’s a big part of why we have the 3rd most expensive health care in the country. Clearly in line with Art Pope’s agenda, Jordan’s vote against Medicaid expansion actively hurts North Carolinians and limits access to healthcare.
Jordan, having received donations from Duke Energy, chose to not hold them accountable after their coal ash spill in 2016 and to pass the cost onto the ratepayers. After the spill, legislation was introduced that would free Duke Energy from the responsibility of cleaning up the disaster they caused. This ultimately saved Duke Energy billions of dollars, at the expense of North Carolinians and the environment.
Read on for more about Jordan’s record of placing his relationships.
Source: WataugaWatchRead More
Scott Stone was appointed to House District 105 in May 2016 and won the election for the seat in November of the same year.He does not have any prior political experience, as he lost the race for Charlotte Mayor in both 2015 and 2011 and lost a race for Arlington County Board (VA) in 1996.
Stone is out-of-touch with his constituents. He added $287,000 worth of “housekeeping buildings” to his $459,500 home, meanwhile, he voted for bills that make it difficult for North Carolinians to get ahead. Stone blindly followed his party’s lead, voting to block an amendment that would have expanded Medicaid for several North Carolinians and voting in favor of several other bills that fail to protect working families in NC. He opposed raising the minimum wage and did not want to allow affordable housing near his south Charlotte neighborhood.
Despite boasting about the fact that he has children in the NC public school system, Stone has repeatedly voted for bills during his short time in office that fail to adequately fund public schools. He claims diversity in schools is a “politically driven issue” and opposes busing to increase diversity in Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools, claiming it is “not the answer.” Stone said, “the legislature is responsible for the education of students across the state,” but he has voted for Republican budgets that continue to fail NC’s education system.
Following the shooting in Parkland, FL, Stone followed his party’s lead and voted against amendments made by Democrats to a school safety bill that would have added gun-control restrictions. Stone prioritized gun rights over the safety of children at school. He once again proved he is out of touch with North Carolinians and will blindly follow the Republican party at any cost.
Click here for more about Stone's record.
Rep. John Sauls is a Republican preacher representing House District 51. He served two terms from 2003-2006 and then retired, claiming to expand his congregation. However Sauls then retired from leading his congregation, handing over the pulpit to his higher-energy son, only to run for the NC House again in 2016. Since 2016 Sauls has served without distinction, sponsoring very few bills and missing many votes due to absences. He recently published Facebook ads listing the wrong district number and is known for being absent from floor votes and committee meetings. However, the votes he has been present for continue the Republican trend of prioritizing corporations and millionaires over the people in their districts.
Read on for more about Sauls’ record.
Photo: Winston-Salem Journal Debra Conrad was on the Forsyth County Commission for 18 years and has been in office since 1994. While there, she caused tension between the County Commission and the school board. She repeatedly voted against funding more education, instead voting in favor of …Read More