It looks like students in North Carolina won’t be back in the classroom anytime soon.
Monday evening, March 1, the North Carolina state Senate failed to override the veto by Gov. Roy Cooper of the school reopening act. The 28 Republican senators and one Democrat voted in favor and 20 Democratic senators voted against. To override the governor’s veto, a 60 percent majority is needed. In the state Senate that is 30 votes. So in order to override the veto the Republicans needed to have two of the 22 Democrats vote for the override. The vote was 29 to 20, falling one short of the 30 votes needed.
The school reopening bill, which offered schools flexibility but required schools to offer in-person classroom teaching, passed the Senate originally with 31 votes, which means three Democrats voted in favor of reopening the schools to in-person classroom instruction.
However, Sen. Paul Lowe (D-Forsyth) who originally voted in favor of the bill voted no on the override and Sen. Ben Clark (D-Hoke) who voted for the bill originally was not present to vote on Monday evening. Sen. Kirk deViere (D-Cumberland) was the only Democrat to vote in favor of the bill and for the override.
Before the vote on Monday, Rep. Jon Hardister (R-Guilford), who is the House majority whip said that he was confident they had the votes in the House to override the veto, but said that the Senate was questionable.
In a press release, Sen. Deanna Ballard (R-Watauga), who co-chairs the Senate Education Committee, said, “Hundreds of thousands of struggling students and desperate parents are paying the price for Gov. Cooper’s political victory. The far-left NCAE controls education policy at the Governor’s mansion and in the Democratic caucus, and some students will never recover from the destruction they’ve caused.”
Before the vote information was released showing a majority of high school students failed to pass the end-of-course exams and 75 percent of third-graders are not proficient in reading.