Under the Dome

Susan Evans cites Pre-K support in NC Senate campaign

Wake County school board member Susan Evans speaks to parents and teachers during a board advisory council. Evans, the Democratic candidate for the N.C. Senate Distric 17 seat, is criticizing Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer for backing a state budget that cut Pre-K funding.
Wake County school board member Susan Evans speaks to parents and teachers during a board advisory council. Evans, the Democratic candidate for the N.C. Senate Distric 17 seat, is criticizing Republican Sen. Tamara Barringer for backing a state budget that cut Pre-K funding. Paul A. Specht

Wake County school board member Susan Evans is touting her support for pre-kindergarten programs in her bid for more campaign cash to help unseat N.C. Senator Tamara Barringer.

In an email sent Feb. 17, Evans says she’s running for the District 17 seat “to fight for our children and to turn public education back in the right direction.” As an example, Evans says she knows the importance of Pre-K funding but the General Assembly doesn’t because North Carolina was one of only nine states last year that cut Pre-K funding.

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my five years on the Wake County School Board, it’s how crucial high-quality Pre-K programs like Smart Start are,” said Evans, a Democrat. “So often, kids start kindergarten already behind. But good Pre-K programs build a foundation for learning success that lasts throughout life.

“Studies have shown that investment in early learning reduces the need for more expensive remediation later on.”

Evans points to Barringer’s vote last year to support a state budget that cut Pre-K funding.

“She will keep voting like this until we vote her out,” Evans says of the Republican incumbent.

The source for Evans’ figures is a report by the Education Commission of the States that reviewed Pre-K funding for all 50 states for the 2015-16 fiscal year. The ECS report showed that North Carolina’s Pre-K budget was cut $749,544, or 0.52 percent, to $144.2 million.

Terry Stoops, director of education research studies for the John Locke Foundation, says a lot of the states that increased their Pre-K funding had small budgets in the first place. While North Carolina “technically” cut Pre-K funding, Stoops said it was not a “massive cut.”

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