Under the Dome

Recession, tax cuts hurt education, says departing State Board of Education member

John Tate of Charlotte ended his 12 years on the State Board of Education on Thursday with a speech criticizing state tax cuts he said hurt public education.

In prepared remarks that touched on a range of topics including testing, teacher preparation, charter schools and school leadership, Tate, a retired banker, asked the board members to be the state’s chief advocates for children.

“Over the last six years, we have seen massive cuts to K-12,” Tate wrote. “Today, we have 15,000 fewer professionals across the state serving our kids. A primary culprit has been the repercussions of a deep recession which brought us shrinking revenues in the face of a requirement for a balanced budget but, as we have recovered, we have seen the giveaway of a half-billion dollars plus to taxpayers in the form of a tax cut. Education has suffered. The profession has suffered. And the predicament before you is that, eventually, our kids will have suffered.”

Tate was one of the most outspoken members of the board. He was part of a shrinking minority of board members appointed by Democratic governors.

The eight-year term for board member Kevin Howell, a lobbyist for N.C. State University, has also expired, but Howell will continue serving until his replacement is appointed.

Gov. Pat McCrory appoints board members, and they are confirmed by the legislature.