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Letter: To my constituents

The budget has passed the Senate, and thanks to your vigorous advocacy and the Democrats’ pushback we were able to get $428 million restored for education, teachers’ assistants and $20 million in mental health. The outcry was loud and effective from all over the state. 

This doesn’t mean things are all rosy, however, and because of this I voted against the budget. A hundred and thirty-seven million dollars in cuts is pushed down to the local schools to find out where they will hurt less. And in death by a million cuts, many programs are cut: Teaching Fellows; Teachers Cadet; Teacher Academy; Science Olympiad; Kids Voting; N.C. Science, Math and Technical Education Center; and The Governor’s School, which has brought countless students from rural and small-town schools throughout the state to the most stimulating and challenging awakening during their school experience.

The school can operate, but only by charging for room and board, materials and tuition, which will mean that the poorest who benefited the most will not be able to attend.

In addition to outright elimination, it reduces support for the N.C. Center for Advancement of Teaching, Smart Start is cut by 20 percent ($27.6 million), and then $18 million for textbooks, $20 million for basic school technology like computers and basic school supplies like paper and pencils over two years are cut.

And, saddest of all, the per-pupil funding for schools puts us at the bottom, below even Mississippi.

Our universities took a big hit, and just this week Piedmont Community College announced it will be on a four-day teaching schedule this summer because of the cuts. 

And even while we are still in two wars, $200,000 was cut for National Guard administration, and Veterans Affairs by $500,000. 

Medicaid, the health care system for the poor, disabled and elderly, will no longer be required to provide physical and occupational therapy.

Drug treatment court, a model across the United States, is eliminated in the budget.

I hope we can cope with these draconian cuts.

This is a preliminary report to answer some of the questions you all have asked. Thank you.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird
District 23

  1. Jim Hart

    Thank you, Ellie, for mentioning the Governor’s School. Please know that we are doing all we can to keep the program operating and provide scholarship money for those who otherwise might not be able to attend. (Our hope is to fully fund the school through private donations, but they may be a little more than we can accomplish in the few months we have to work.) Anyone who wants to help can find out more at http://www.ncgsalumni.org.

    Jim Hart, President
    GS Alumni Association