North Carolina Governor Declares ‘Emergency’ Over School Choice

North Carolina Democrat Gov. Roy Cooper is in a bind. Republicans in the state legislature are overriding his vetoes at will and are about to do that once more to his rejection of their school choice bill.

The Tar Heel State is set to join other states, including Florida, in permitting parents to use their own taxpayer funds to get a private education for their children. Cooper, of course, sees the sky falling.

The Democrat declared there is a “state of emergency” for public education. This shrill stand follows massive defeats on both gun control and abortion as the Republican-dominated legislature sent his pair of vetoes down in flames.

He claimed the Senate’s budget, which gives teachers a 4.5% pay raise over the next two years, is intended “to choke the life out of public education.”

North Carolina taxpayers will also get to keep more of their money, something Cooper also opposes. The GOP calls for trimming both personal and corporate income tax rates.

As for schools, the new law would expand eligibility for private school funding beyond lower-income families. Now families in all tax brackets will qualify, though at least 50% of the revenue is required to go to those who qualify for free or reduced school meals.

Beginning in the 2024-25 school year, the lowest income families would get over $7,000 annually for private education. Meanwhile, the wealthiest would qualify for more than $3,000 per year.

The measure also provides vouchers for students already enrolled in a private school.

There is substantial disagreement between the House and Senate versions of the education package, meaning a conference process will commence to find middle ground. Then it looks likely that Cooper will once again put his veto power to the test.

He also issued a call for supporters to visit his website and be schooled on how to contact state legislators over the education issue. Senate Leader Phil Berger (R) of Rockingham chided the Democrat over a “meaningless publicity stunt.”

He added that lawmakers will get busy hammering out budget proposals that benefit both students and parents.

U.S. Sen. Thom Tills (R-NC), a former speaker of the North Carolina state House, added his voice to those supporting the “Opportunity Scholarships.” He said “families deserve to have more freedom, not more fearmongering and special-interest driven mandates from liberal politicians.”

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