The new NC Real Solutions ad has ruffled a lot of feathers and inspired the comment from Gov. Beverly Perdue that “there are fewer dollars in the public school system today than there’s ever been.”
The News & Observer puts the competing claims to the test. The original ad?
The ad is true – as far as it goes. The ad’s claim that the budget added 2,000 more state-funded teachers doesn’t represent the whole picture. In the end, the number of teachers in the state decreased this school year by about 1 percent. The ad could leave viewers with a false impression.
Or it could correct a false impression perpetrated by state budget critics. Those who would point to the lower number of teachers overall statewide ought to explain why one-time federal money ever was used to pay for ongoing teacher compensation expenses. Instead they’ve bashed Republicans and created a false impression that the state budget itself — regardless of local decisions made with local flexibility — slashed teacher jobs.
What about Perdue’s claims?
Perdue’s claim from her news conference is false.
Please follow the link to see how the governor’s handlers created an after-the-gaffe “clarification” designed to show that K-12 spending will make up 37.3 percent of the state budget next year, “the lowest percentage going back to at least 1969-70.” True or not, and the N&O gives the governor’s office the benefit of the doubt by labeling the clarification “partly true,” the percentage of the state budget devoted to education tells us nothing about the actual level of education spending itself. Education’s share of the total budget pie depends on the amount of resources devoted to all other state government expenses.