There’s a new ‘attack’ on education in North Carolina. This time it’s in the form of raiding one school fund to pad another. The evil Republicans are at it again!
That would likely be the story synopsis for House Bill 1095 by some North Carolina media outlets.
However, HB 1095 is 100% Democrat sponsored.
What the bill does is raid the Opportunity Scholarship fund in order to shift money over to new school construction. The Opportunity Scholarship fund is only proposed to receive $24.8 million in the budget. HB 1095 proposes to funnel $11.8 million out of the fund.
The Opportunity Scholarship program is exceedingly popular, as evidenced by the rapid growth in number of applicants. Over 20,000 students have applied since the 2014-15 school year. However, the number actually getting a scholarship due to limited funds in the program.
Democrats want to raid a fund that is already stretched? Are they using Common Core math?
The students apply are coming from all 100 of NC’s counties. I doubt it’s coincidence that the majority of the sponsors of HB 1095 come from districts who have high or the highest number of Opportunity Scholarship applicants.
Here are the top ten paired with the bill sponsors:
Cumberland County – 893 – Lucas, Floyd
Wake County – 807 – Gill
Mecklenburg County – 744 – Alexander, Earle
Guilford County – 428 – Harrison
Forsyth County – 307
Durham County – 276 – L. Hall, Luebke, Meyer
Onslow County – 265
Buncombe County – 172 – Fisher
Randolph County – 166
Gaston County – 160
It’s also probably no coincidence that these districts have budgets that have large building funds or have issues with school funding either. Such is the case in Cumberland, where their budget is apparently a mess.
In Durham, they slashed jobs to cover their deficit. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg schools budget is such a mess, their board floated the idea of yet another bond. I am sure if you look at the rest of counties the sponsors are from, you’ll find a similar story.
This is a straight up attack on school choice by Democrats in some of the biggest school districts in the state, arguably to bail out their own district’s school boards.
These scholarships are being utilized heavily by minority students, in the latest data, African-American and Hispanic students make up 45% of the applicants.
Why do Democrats think it’s a good idea to steal from an education fund that is heavily patronized by low-income and minority students? Maybe because the schools these students are choosing to spend their scholarships at are overwhelmingly parochial schools.
I’m not the only one noticing this bill stinks. Civitas asks, where did the $740 million in supplemental funds from the Education Lottery for new school construction go?