Senate Minority Leader Martin Nesbitt this afternoon sent around a new report from the Southern Regional Education Board. It suggests that most Southern states are increasing spending on education, not cutting it, and that North Carolina is cutting at all levels of education more deeply than other states.
Nesbitt says the education cuts in the legislature's budget would put North Carolina 49th in per-pupil spending.
“How can North Carolina compete with the world if we can’t even compete with our neighbors?” he asks.
Nesbitt is right that the legislature is cutting education more deeply than it needed to. Preserving even part of an expiring one-cent sales tax could have provided hundreds of millions of dollars for schools.
What Nesbitt and the SREB don't say, however, is that the General Assembly's budget provides almost as much for education as Democratic Gov. Bev Perdue requested. So the numbers in the chart above wouldn't look much different even if legislators had given Perdue what she wanted.
Click on the chart above to make it more legible.
-- Posted by the Observer editorial board