Trying to drum up support for Gov. Pat McCrory’s budget veto threat, his education adviser Eric Guckian sent an email to lobbyists for education-related groups, about a half dozen school superintendents, and N.C. Association of Educators leaders asking for backing.
McCrory last Thursday threatened to veto any budget that included an average 11 percent teacher raise – a raise Senate Republicans are pushing – because it would mean deep cuts in other areas. McCrory said he backs a House proposal that includes 6 percent average teacher raises.
The same day, Guckian sent an email asking for “public statements in support” of McCrory’s veto pledge. The email went to Heath Morrison, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools; Cumberland Superintendent Frank Till; State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey; NCAE President Rodney Ellis; and Democratic State Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson, among others.
Morrison and Till were two of the superintendents Republican Senate negotiators walked out on last week when House negotiators asked them to talk about the impact of losing teacher assistants, a spending category the Senate budget cuts by $233 million.
The budget – now two weeks overdue – has touched off an intense intra-party fight, with the Republican governor siding with the Republican-led House against the Republican-led Senate.
“Our state needs swift and public statements of support from you all,” Guckian wrote. “We simply cannot allow a small and powerful minority to control the future of North Carolina. This is not a partisan issue, as the House vote of 117-0 in support of the Education Promise Act confirms. This is about doing the right thing for children and for all of the educators that are charged with their care. Please feel free to call me with any questions or concerns, but I urge you to act. The time is now.”