Too many children throughout the state, including Union County, lack access to qualified educators, adequate facilities, extracurricular programs, career training, and more.
The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in 1994 in the case of “Leandro v. The State of North Carolina” that the state was failing in its constitutional obligation to adequately educate all of the state’s children. In the years following the Leandro decision, a detailed roadmap for how to improve, called the Leandro plan, was created to address the critical needs of the North Carolina public school system. Sadly, Republicans in the state legislature have done nothing but try to stop moving forward with this vital plan.
When Stacey Swanson, a parent in Union County, learned about the Leandro case and the fact that the state has billions in available funds, it made her angry. “Schools need more nurses, psychologists, counselors, and social workers. Funding these jobs would assist families like us by providing a critical link between parents/guardians and schools,” Swanson remarked. The Swansons are concerned about their child’s recovery from the pandemic after their nine-year-old daughter became unengaged in the virtual format and her enthusiasm about learning waned.
In North Carolina, education funding is among the lowest in the country, and it’s not due to a lack of resources. State lawmakers have refused to help North Carolina children receive a fair education, even though the Leandro plan has billions of dollars in reserve. Releasing this funding could help families like Stacey’s get the help they need.
If state lawmakers implemented the court-ordered Leandro plan to provide a sound and basic education to all North Carolina children, Union County would receive the following increases in education funding by 2028:
- 118% increase in instructional support funding
- 51% increase in funding for teaching assistants
- 102% increase in funding for textbooks
- 128% increase in funding for classroom supplies
Under the Leandro plan, Union County would also receive the following additional education positions by 2028:
- 233 more Instructional Support Positions
- 40 Career Development Coordinators
- 7 Community School Coordinators
Four seats on the Union County Board of Education will be up for election on Nov. 8. For more information on how and where to vote, visit the Union County Board of Elections website.