“The urgency of this moment is now. And we have to be having this conversation at this crossroads,” Rep. Ricky Hurtado, an Alamance County Democrat and another sponsor, said during the virtual news conference.
The remedial plan presented to Judge David Lee included funding improvements to help low-income students and those with disabilities, and to hire more school support personnel. Increased pay for teachers, principals and assistant principals is included in the plan, but no dollar value for the increases has been set. The plan also focuses on increasing teacher diversity and competency and expanding prekindergarten access. Lee said last month he wouldn’t try to tell the General Assembly how much money they need to spend.
Other speakers said there was no time for more excuses about why at-risk children, including those in rural and poor settings and some immigrants, fail to receive the education they deserve, especially when the state’s coffers are flush.
“It is time for North Carolina to fulfill its promise to children,” said Patricia Beier, CEO of WAGES, an anti-poverty community action group based in Goldsboro. “Does leaving behind yet another generation of children from rural communities or from families with low wealth align with our values as a state?”
GOP House Speaker Tim Moore said in a written statement that while spending “is the purview of the legislature rather than the courts, some of the policy suggestions in the report are worthy of consideration.”