Pope's budget legacy


"Largest change in the budget in my lifetime"

The extremely well hidden provision to change the way that public schools are funded is, according to Philip Price, chief financial officer for the state Department of Public Instruction, the provision “the largest change in the budget in my lifetime.”

It’s the No. 1 concern in the budget,” Price said. “It opens the possibility they won’t fund total enrollment growth. They’re going to have limited funding and you’re going to be competing with every other priority.”

Yep, Pope's budget legacy. Negative and huge.

The budget change surprised Wake County school leaders, who said it would have a significant impact on them and other growing school systems. Wake, the largest school district in the state with 153,000 students, grows by more than 3,000 students annually.

“There are a lot of HR issues wrapped up in this,” David Neter, Wake’s chief business officer, told the school board on Tuesday. “This is huge.”

And well hidden this provision was.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Pro Tem Paul “Skip” Stam said he didn’t know the budget he supported included the change in how future student growth is funded.

“The first I read about that was in today’s paper,” he said. “But we always fund based upon student growth. Obviously the number of students you have will be an important factor in what you appropriate.”

Rep. Marilyn Avila, a Raleigh Republican who helps write the health sections of the budget, said Wednesday she didn’t know about the provision on education funding.

Somebody knew this was in there. Who put this provision in the budget? Who?

"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014