Teacher in N.C. Legislature Says Education Nonprofit in Shortfall, Cutting Positions Due to Governor’s Budget Veto

Raleigh, N.C. – A public school teacher serving in the state House says an education nonprofit in his district that works with at-risk students to help them achieve success and graduate from high school has cut key positions, including its executive director, due to Governor Roy Cooper’s budget veto.

State House Education Committee Chairman Jeffrey Elmore (R-Wilkes), an active public school teacher serving in the North Carolina General Assembly, said Thursday that Communities in Schools (CIS) of Northwest North Carolina has overdrawn its bank account and cut key employees due to the Governor’s veto of education funding in the state budget.  

CIS of Northwest N.C. “provides the link between educators and the community” by “bringing caring adults into the schools to address children’s unmet needs,” according to its website.  The organization has existed in several forms in Wilkes County since 1983.  CIS is a national organization that began in 1977.   

The Wilkes-Journal Patriot reported on the cuts Tuesday.

CIS works to ensure at-risk students receive “a one-on-one relationship with a caring adult, a safe place to learn and grow, a healthy start and a health future, a marketable skill to use upon graduation, and a chance to give back to peers and community,” according to its website.

CIS was operating on a two-year Extended Learning and Integrated Student Supports (ELISS) grant of $389,000 that was funded in the North Carolina state budget but ran out on June 30, 2020.  The 2019-2020 state budget contained additional grant funding for the organization but it was vetoed by Governor Cooper.

Chairman Elmore said his local education community is reeling from the news that the Governor’s budget veto would force CIS to change how it delivers services to students in partnership with local school districts.

“Communities in Schools serves at-risk students in my school district who depend on the education nonprofit for their successful growth, and the harm that the Governor’s veto caused this organization and its stakeholders has our community deeply concerned for those kids,” Chairman Elmore said Thursday.   

“There is real harm in education from the Governor’s veto games; he is holding up capital projects, he is blocking pay raises, he has delayed a new School of Science and Math in Morganton, and now is hurting nonprofits that serve students who depend on that support.”

“The consequence of the Governor prioritizing Medicaid expansion over public schools has been serious and unnecessary pain for students and faculty across North Carolina.  When the legislature returns in April, the Governor must end his Medicaid ultimatum and support our schools.”