Gov. Roy Cooper makes a stop in ENC on campaign to fight for public schools

In the middle of budget talks, Governor Roy Cooper paid a visit to Greene Central High School.
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 9:00 PM EDT
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GREENE COUNTY, N.C. (WITN) - In the middle of budget talks, Governor Roy Cooper paid a visit to Greene Central High School.

“You’ve heard that I’ve declared a state of emergency for public schools in North Carolina,” Cooper said during his trip.

He’s touring schools across North Carolina to talk about his proposed budget and to encourage people to make their voices heard.

“Parents, businesses, teachers, students, and superintendents can contact their legislators that we need to invest in public education. Real investment brings results in public education.”

The House proposal would raise average teacher pay by 10.2% over two years, compared to 4.5% in the Senate plan. Cooper’s budget proposal wanted 18% average raises to protect public schools and lower teacher vacancies.

Cooper says, “Now we have a situation where we have over 5,000 teacher vacancies in our state and that means that tens of thousands of students do not have a qualified teacher and I know that it is a challenge.”

State Republicans, like Jon Hardister, have concerns. “ I just hope that we can put some of the partisan politics aside and unfortunately, I think that’s what the governor is doing with this executive order. I hate to say that but it’s what I believe is happening and it’s disappointing because it doesn’t help anybody to grandstand, especially over education.”

Governor Cooper has not signed an executive order surrounding his call for a public education state of emergency.

Republican Representative Tim Reeder also issued a statement saying:

“Governor Cooper has called this an educational emergency. The real emergency is that the current education system is failing too many of our children. Despite public education spending being at the highest level in state history, a majority of children still cannot read at the 4th-grade level. I am working to improve the recruitment and retention of great teachers for our schools to help improve this outcome.

We must recognize that education is not a one-size-fits-all approach and every child learns differently. The Opportunity Scholarship Program simply ensures parents have additional options and opportunities in their child’s education. Having sent his child to a private school, Gov. Cooper understands the importance of school choice. The fact that the Governor is now issuing a fake state of emergency because he does not want parents to have the same opportunities for their children is disappointing. We should be funding students and not systems.”