North Carolina’s Democrat Governor Roy Cooper declared a state of emergency on Monday because the state’s legislature is expected to override his veto of a school choice bill.
“I’m declaring the state of emergency because you need to know what’s happening,” Cooper said during a speech in the state’s Capitol of Raleigh on Monday. “If you care about public schools in North Carolina, it’s time to take immediate action and tell them to stop the damage that will set back our schools for a generation.”
The governor stated that smaller raises for teachers coupled with a decrease in state revenue in the North Carolina Senate’s proposed budget, in addition to the expansion of private school vouchers, as issues that are “aiming to choke the life out of public education.”
“There is no executive order like there is for a hurricane or the pandemic,” Cooper said. “But this is no less important.”
Republican majorities in both the House and Senate voted to expand the state’s private school voucher program to all income levels as opposed to just poorer residents. Democrats have argued that the expansion of school choice will divert funding away from public schools, with Cooper referring to GOP efforts as a “scheme.”
“Their private school voucher scheme will pour your tax money into private schools that are unaccountable to the public and can decide which students they want to keep out,” Cooper said. “They want to expand private school vouchers so that anyone, even a millionaire, can get taxpayer money for their children’s private academy tuition.”
Social media users were quick to point out that the governor sent his own children to a private school where tuition costs $28,000 per year.
Senate Leader Phil Berger, a Republican, immediately responded to the government’s address with a statement from a spokesperson. “Meaningless publicity stunts do nothing to improve educational outcomes in our state,” Randy Brechbiel of the Senate President Pro Tempore’s office told WGHP. “The House and Senate will continue working together to put forward budget proposals that address the needs of students and parents.”
In recent weeks, Cooper has lost to the legislature’s GOP supermajority in veto-override votes on pistol permits and a 12-week abortion ban.