The following is a press release from Governor Roy Cooper
Governor Roy Cooper toured St. Pauls Elementary in Robeson County to push for a school construction bond that will allow voters to guarantee funding for new school buildings and renovations across the state. Gov. Cooper’s proposal would provide Robeson County with $16 million more for school construction than the Republican legislative budget.
“Students across North Carolina deserve safe, updated classrooms, particularly in areas like Robeson County that are still recovering from natural disasters,” said Gov. Cooper. “The legislature’s budget didn’t do enough for our schools and offered no guarantee any school construction would be completed. We must do better.”
Gov. Cooper offered a detailed compromise more than two weeks ago that provides reliable school construction if voters approved. “It’s time for legislators to understand the challenges our communities are facing and come to the table to work towards a solution,” Gov. Cooper said.
School administrators today showed the Governor the aging and crowded classrooms and facilities at St. Pauls Elementary that suffered flooding and damage in both hurricanes Matthew and Florence. Like many rural communities, Robeson County Schools have faced local budget shortfalls forcing tough decisions and cuts.
In March, Gov. Cooper originally proposed a $3.9 billion bond for school and education construction and water and sewer upgrades. The legislative Republicans’ budget included a State Capital Infrastructure Fund (SCIF) that siphons funds from other areas to use for school construction and capital needs but doesn’t guarantee any money to school districts.
After Gov. Cooper vetoed the Republican legislature’s budget, he offered to compromise by asking voters to consider a smaller $3.5 billion bond. The Governor’s compromise solution would provide Robeson County with $41.5 million in guaranteed funds for school construction compared to the legislature’s budget which only provides $25.5 billion with no guarantee that projects ever be completed.
“My compromise plan is a balanced, responsible path forward to invest more in school construction than the Republican legislative budget. It would build new schools, provide more access to health care, and invest in local communities, instead of shorting schools for more corporate tax cuts,” he said. “I hope that Republican leaders will send back a response so we can move North Carolina forward.”
Gov. Cooper shared his compromise solution to Republican leaders 17 days ago, but they have still not responded with a counteroffer.
For a comparison of each school districts’ funding between the Governor’s compromise and the Republican legislative budget, click HERE.
The last statewide school construction bond in North Carolina was more than 20 years ago in 1996 when voters approved $1.8 billion.
Gov. Cooper also talked about the need for Medicaid expansion. In Robeson County alone, Medicaid expansion could create more than 600 jobs, help more than 13,000 people access health care, and bring a $98 million economic impact.
Read more about the Governor’s proposed budget compromise HERE.