Union linked group ranks NC Education funding
The Education Law Center cited in recent news articles is anti-school choice, backed by Union money with ties to the Southern Poverty Law Center
There have been some stories running in North Carolina outlets about the "Education Law Center" ranking NC education funding as an “F.” Arguably these articles are about creating pressure on the state legislature to capitulate to the spending called for in the Leandro plan.
This article at WITN is an example.
These articles are missing key information - specifically they don't tell the reader who Education Law Center is or even where they are located.
According to Capital Research Center’s Influence Watch, the Education Law Center (ELC) is run out of office in New Jersey, not North Carolina. ELS specializes in lawsuits on school funding as well as “organizing for interested groups of parents and teachers in New Jersey and education policy activists around the country.”
What interested groups and activists? Union and Southern Poverty Law Center affiliated ones that want to curb school choice options:
“ELC-NJ activism initiatives often align with teachers’ unions’ priorities, particularly preserving and expanding public school funding. ELC-NJ is one of the groups supporting Public Funds Public Schools, an [sic] left-wing initiative started by the controversial Southern Poverty Law Center which seeks to limit school choice by opposing public support for private-school tuition and preventing education tax credits, and education savings accounts from being used to pay for private school tuition.”
ELC gets most of its funding from teachers’ unions along with other left-leaning non-profits, many of which have the same goal of stopping school choice.
Read the full profile for EJC at Influence Watch.
The WITN article cites North Carolina Association of Educators (NCAE) President Tamika Walker Kelly, who wants the state to use tax revenue surpluses and tap into the Rainy Day fund for education. The NCAE is an affiliate of the National Education Association, one of the two largest teachers’ unions in the country.
“We know that the $6 billion revenue surplus that the state is sitting on can also remedy many of the problems today, in addition to the money that is in the rainy day fund at the General Assembly,” Walker Kelly said. “So we have the resources and the financial resources to do it. We need our lawmakers to exercise the political will to make sure that our students and educators get the public education they deserve.”
Kelly isn’t specific about the problems nor does she mention that school districts in North Carolina are sitting on upwards of $6 billion in unspent COVID-19 relief funds. The John Locke Foundation reported in July that only around 11% of that $6 billion has been spent so far.
Earlier this year in March, Kelly claimed learning loss due to the pandemic was a “false construct.”
Additionally, while some kids weren’t even allowed back in the classroom, the NCAE drove around the state earlier this year in what resembled bread truck on its “We heart Public Schools tour.”
It’s worth noting that historically education is and has been the largest portion of the state budget.
In the last update to the state budget, the net appropriation for education is $31 billion, broken down to $15.3 billion in FY 2021-22, and $15.7 billion in FY2022-23
The Department of Public Instruction is slated to get over $10.59 billion in FY 2021-2022 and over $10.74 billion in FY 2022-2023.
Federal relief dollars which are undispersed due to the budget not being passed and enacted yet for K-12 is $338.7 million. There are also $3.6 billion in the latest round of federal Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funds to be designated.
The money is there. Districts just need to spend it - wisely.