North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper received a letter Monday, Aug. 26 that is likely the first of many similar letters he will receive in the coming days.
The Wake County school system Division of Principals and Assistant Principals sent a letter to Cooper and members of the General Assembly asking where the money was for pay increases for support staff and states: “Professional staff have earned their promised step increases in their salary schedule upon the beginning of the new year. But those steps remain unfunded and a promise remains unfulfilled.”
The letter continues: “Much-needed additional mental health and school resource officer positions remain vacant leaving our students vulnerable. Without a ratified state budget, our students have started school without some very important items on their school supply lists – resources, support, and safety.”
The letter asks that “you pass a biennial budget that meets the needs of our school children and fulfills your promises to the adults charged with their education before another instructional day passes.”
Wake is the largest school system in the state and has taken the lead on notifying Cooper and the legislature of its dissatisfaction. But it would be surprising if other school systems didn’t follow suit. There is a lot of money in the budget allocated for public education that will sit there until the budget gets passed or the legislature passes a bill to fund public education as part of the piecemeal process.
As far as the piecemeal budget goes, in a press conference on Tuesday, Aug. 27, Cooper said, “They don’t work well in Washington, and they won’t work well in North Carolina.”
And with the pieces moving through the legislature, Cooper should soon get the opportunity to start vetoing the pieces, like the raises for prison officials that has already passed the state Senate.
The very fact that the letter from Wake County principals was addressed to Cooper and “Members of the General Assembly” and not to state House Speaker Tim Moore and President Pro Tem of the Senate Phil Berger says a lot about how the public is perceiving the budget stalemate.