Rep. Jeffrey Elmore published an op-ed on EdNC.org today entitled “Governor’s budget veto creates uncertainty for students, teachers, and schools.”
It’s pure political dribble from a lawmaker who championed SB599 a while back that created a teacher-preparation pipeline to address the very teacher shortage in NC that Elmore and his party have helped create.
Read it if you can. Then possibly consider some questions that if Rep. Elmore answered them honestly would nullify his argument.
This is exactly why the State Employees Association of North Carolina (SEANC) has been actively urging lawmakers to override the governor’s veto. Because they know the raises included in the budget for state employees — the largest in over a decade — should not be used as bargaining chips.
Question #1 – Then why don’t you go ahead and vote to override the veto?
Rep. Elmore, simply urge Moore and Berger to call a vote on overriding the veto. Go ahead and do it. If it gets overridden, then this argument is over. If not, it sounds like their are a lot of people besides the SEANC who are calling for the veto to stand.
Then there is this:
The budget already has language in it that allows for the governor to call the General Assembly back into a special session to deal with health care issues in North Carolina, but this is not enough for Governor Cooper.
Question #2 – “Do you remember all of the special sessions that were called and then something else was passed?”
Think HB2 (which literally got overturned in a very recent court decision) and that “special session”. Think of the special session concerning hurricane relief that produced HB17, that bill which granted a neophyte of a state superintendent power to dismantle DPI and help the privatization of public schools.
Rep. Elmore should remember that history. He was there.
And there’s this:
We welcome a debate on Medicaid expansion, but let’s not tie the most politically contentious issue with something as important as our state’s budget.
Question #3 – Is the “we” in that statement referring to the same “we” who so much shunned debate and discussion on amendments last year that they passed the bugetr behind closed doors within committee?
As the only active public school teacher in the N.C. General Assembly, I have a personal understanding of the challenges facing our teachers and schools. Sadly, teacher pay and education funding have been used as political footballs, even weapons, by politicians to advance their agenda and careers for decades.
Question #4 – So, as the only politician who also teaches, does Rep. Elmore think that he speaks for all of the teachers who also have a “personal understanding” and who marched the last two years and asked their representatives to fight for issues like Medicaid expansion?
Which brings us to another question.
Question #5 – Does Rep. Elmore have the ability to look back over the last decade when his party had a supermajority and see how often public education was used as a political football by him and his colleagues?
Then Elmore pulls out the “Well look at all of the teacher raises we have given since we came into power” platitude.
After five consecutive years of pay increases for our teachers, including over 9% in the past two years, this budget includes an additional 3.9% over the next two years with step increases and raises ranging from $500 to $2,600. The budget even includes two bonuses of $500 each for our most veteran teachers.
Question #6 – Can Rep. Elmore explain this?
No more longevity pay. No graduate degree pay.
Under Elmore’s watch.