This coming week is going to be packed for North Carolina education, so I’m dedicating my column this morning to unpacking all the things you should be looking for as the week progresses.
Public School Forum legislative breakfast
The action kicks off tomorrow morning at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. The Public School Forum of North Carolina is holding a legislative breakfast where it will unveil the Forum’s 2019 Local School Finance Study.
According to a press release from the Forum, the study will highlight the “chronic and growing gap” in school funding between high and low-wealth counties. The study found that the counties that spend the most money spend an average of $3,200 per student, while the 10 counties with the least spending pay out about $755 per student. The press release said this gap is the largest since the Forum began keeping track in 1987.
“At a time when local school finance is a hot-button issue in North Carolina, we’re pleased we can present the findings of our annual Local School Finance Study to lawmakers while simultaneously providing an opportunity for constructive dialogue between policymakers and those who are working on the front lines of school finance every day,” said Keith Poston, the Forum’s president and executive director, in the press release.
After the presentation of the study, the Forum will hold a panel discussion with superintendents and local finance officers about the funding challenges for education in North Carolina.
Senate building construction plan
On Tuesday morning, the Senate Rules committee will take up the Senate building construction bill, which would include about $2 billion each for K-12 education, the UNC-System, and the community college system. The bill passed its first committee last week. See our coverage here.
House education — community colleges
The House Education community college committee will be taking up House Bill 8 on Tuesday at 11. The bill would let Tri-County Community College charge in-state tuition to students from states bordering NC who live in counties contiguous to Cherokee, Clay, and Graham County.
Innovation and Leadership dinner
Tuesday night at the Raleigh Convention Center, Superintendent of Public Instruction Mark Johnson is hosting an Innovation and Leadership dinner featuring keynote speaker Kelly King, chairman and CEO of the BB&T corporation. The invitation for the event said it will include “major announcements for our public education system.”
Wednesday morning, the Senate and House will hold a joint appropriations committee meeting to discuss the revenue forecast and budget outlook for the state.
According to a press release from House Speaker Tim Moore, R-Cleveland, North Carolina has a $150 million revenue surplus to look forward to for this biennium budget.
“Results for the public and private sector are what really matter,” Moore said in a press release.“People are paying lower taxes in North Carolina and benefiting from a smart approach to state government and economic growth.
“Those calling for drastic change in our economic approach are calling for a change in these positive economic outlooks and budget surpluses. It is essential our state maintain financial flexibility and not return to days of higher taxes and wasteful spending and deficits.
“The General Assembly has paid down billions in debt and fixed the finances of broken public programs like Medicaid and unemployment insurance. I’m proud of my colleagues for building a brighter future in the years ahead for all North Carolinians.”
Editor’s Note: This article originally stated that the Senate education/higher education committee will be taking up Senate Bill 38 Wednesday at 11. The committee will meet but will not be taking up any bills.