Two North Carolina educators say the state still lacks funding, while a proposed bill aims to offer more funds to Virginia schools.
Meg Turner, the principal of Owen High School, said that despite the state budget’s inclusion of wage increases for teachers a gap still exists between funds for public schools and the current level of expenses.
In Virginia, two state legislators introduced a bill that would provide more financial resources for repairs and upgrades of aging facilities, including roofs and cycle shelters for schools among others.
North Carolina’s budget for school expenses dropped by 9.2% between 2007 and 2016, based on state figures impacted by inflation. Overall, Turner joins some industry members that believe the state’s funds for the education sector remains below pre-recession levels.
However, others are saying these people are looking from a different perspective. Donald Bryson, state director for the North Carolina arm of Americans for Prosperity, said that the significant increase in pay raises represents progress.
While textbook funding in the present time remains problematic, Bryson said that success rate among schools has improved compared to the pre-recession period.
New School Act
Virginia Senators Tim Kaine and Mark Warner unveiled the School Infrastructure Modernization Act on May 17 to change the applicable rehabilitation tax credits for schools that continue to operate in the state.
The current law only allows tax credits to historic buildings that have been refurbished and converted for new purposes. Several local schools in the state already qualify for the tax credit, although some requirements such as private ownership will likely complicate matters.
Still, the historic tax credits could provide up to 20% of savings on construction costs for schools.
While North Carolina and Virginia are making impressionable strides in education, schools would need all available assistance. The private sector and government should find ways to cooperate and solve respective issues in both states.