Letter to the Editor (Hickory Daily Record)
From CCDP Chairman, Dr. Ric Vandett
Andy Wells is sponsoring a bill, SB 580, which would give NC teachers $400 for school supplies. Sounds as though he is trying to help teachers, but he is not. SB 580 is a bad bill for a number of reasons.
First of all, he is not proposing a new funding stream. Instead, Wells and his friends in the Senate plan on taking away $37 million from local school districts. This bill would leave school districts with only $10 million of the $47 million they had been getting for school supplies, and that allotment has been cut 55 percent since the recession in 2008.
Secondly, Wells gives his rationale for taking money away from the schools because he believes it is a mistake to give money for supplies to what he calls school district “bureaucrats.” He is quoted as saying, “Bureaucrats used the money to pay for other things on their to-do list and left teachers to pay for their own classroom supplies.” I’d like Wells to prove that statement. Seems to me that teachers would not have to pay for their own supplies if the General Assembly gave the schools enough money, at least at the level of funding before the recession. But to state that school districts are misusing funds and denying money to teachers is a blatant falsehood. The only “bureaucrats” teachers need to fear are the legislators in the General Assembly.
A third example of SB 580 being a bad bill is that school districts, as government entities, can purchase school supplies cheaper than can individual teachers. And, according to Leanne Winner, Director of Governmental Relations for the NC School Board Association, since not all teachers need the same amount for supplies, school districts are in better positions to cover teachers’ supply needs.
Finally, $400 will not go very far in meeting teachers’ supply needs. This bill is just another step in taking money, benefits, and materials from public schools, something the General Assembly has been doing for 10 years.
Dr. Ric Vandett