A Call to Action for Alumni: Legislature Cutting GS Completely
many years, Governor's School has fought for its continued existence. We
have been fortunate for those many yeas to have the support of many friends
in the Legislature who recognized the value of Governor's School to our
students and to our state.
recall that last year, in response to the budget crisis, the General
Assembly voted for the first-ever tuition cost in GS history, charging each
student $500 to attend. They also reduced the budget such that only 600
students could be invited instead of the customary 800 that attended every
year since 1978.
they have done even worse.
received confirmation from members of the NC Senate that the proposed
budget for fiscal 2011-2012 includes no funding for Governor's School.
None. Not one cent. The proposed Education Budget
Reduction Options document, line item 34, reads as follows:
State support for this summer program for outstanding students. Could
consider making the program entirely fee-supported. Currently $500 tuition
is charged to each student.
proposal is to cut the program completely, or charge students for the full
cost of the program, which works out to about $1,700 per student. Such a
tuition requirement would make it impossible for deserving children in
low-income families to attend, and one of the key pillars of GS has always
been that it is open to every student and attendence
is based on the ability to achieve, not on the ability to pay.
The GSAA is
currently taking a look at options to raise awareness of GS in the media
and in the Legislature in order to save this vital program from the
budget-makers' knives. Check back here for details as they unfold. But
there are things that you can do now.
write your legislators and tell them what Governor's School meant to you.
If you don't know who they are, go to the General Assembly's
Represents Me? page to find e-mail,
snail-mail, and phone numbers for your representatives.
write the members of the Education Appropriations subcommittes
for the State
House and State
Senate and tell them that cutting off special education for our best
students is a poor way to secure our future in a competitive global economy.
Perdue and ask her to stand up for the Governor's School and the legacy
of Governor Terry Sanford.
help us keep you informed by joining our Facebook Group
or Yahoo! Forum.
Information on GSAA activities in support of the program will be posted
be our greatest challenge. But if we work together and make our voices
heard, I believe that we can save this program for the future students of
for all that you do for the Governor's School.
June 5, 2011
the NC Legislature sent the budget bill to Governor Perdue for her
signature. The bill contains no support for Governorís School, though it
does give the Department of Public Instruction the option to continue GS as
a tuition-supported program:
TUITION CHARGE FOR GOVERNOR'S SCHOOL
G.S. 115C-12(36) reads as rewritten: "(36) Duty to Charge
Tuition for the Governor's School of North Carolina. Ė The State Board of
Education may implement a tuition charge for students attending the
Governor's School of North Carolina to cover the costs of the School.
thatís it. With two sentences, the State Legislature has eliminated a
program that has served over 31,000 of North Carolinaís top students for
nearly 50 years.
important note is the use of the word Ďmayí in that sentence. The State
Board of Education may implement a tuition chargeÖ They are under no
obligation to do so. Thus, the Department of Public Instruction is under no
obligation to continue Governorís School at all. They can simply let the
first Governorís School in the nation cease to exist.
today, there is only one chance of continued state support of Governorís
School. That would require Governorís Perdue to veto the Legislatureís
budget, her veto to stand, and the resulting negotiations to restore GS to
the partial funding that was in the Governorís budget proposal. However,
five Democratic members of the Legislature have expressed that they will
stand with the Republicans in overriding the Governorís veto. Those five
William D. Brisson (Bladen,
Cumberland Counties): Contact
Jim Crawford (Granville, Vance Counties): Contact
Dewey Hill (Brunswick, Columbus Counties): Contact
Bill Owens (Camden, Currituck, Pasquotank, Tyrrell
Tim Spear (Chowan, Dare, Hyde, Washington Counties): Contact
contact these legislators and express your support for Governorís School
and ask them not to help end the institution from which we all received so
June 22, 2011
last week, Governor Perdue vetoed the budget bill that ended GS funding, but
the General Assembly overrode the veto. Thus, as of this time, there is no
funding for Governorís School beginning in 2012.
efforts will now turn to the all-important effort of trying to keep GS
alive until the economy recovers, at which time we hope to encourage lawmakers
to reinstate public funding. How we do this is fairly simple: we need to
raise enough in donations to the Governorís School Foundation to support as
much of the program as we can. And we need to do it quickly. Before the
beginning of September, the Department of Public Instruction and the State
Board of Education must decide if they will devote effort to organizing GS
for 2012. My sources tell me that unless the GS Foundation can show
significant fundraising ability by that time, DPI will not push the Board
to continue the program.
they mean numbers on the order of $500,000. To put that in perspective, in
the 20 years that I have been working with the GSAA and the foundation, the
most we have been able to provide in any one year was about $20,000, with
an average of about $15,000. For those of you in Area I Math, it would take
33 years at $15,000 per year to achieve that level of funding. So we have
to achieve, in the next eight weeks, what would have taken us 33 years at
our current fundraising pace.
concern, and that of others in the GS family, is that once GS has been
cancelled for even one year, getting it reinstated will be difficult even
if the economy recovers. If we want GS to continue, we must find a way to
keep it on life support through the next year or two.
tuned for information on how you can help, what you can do, and how we will
organize this drive. If we are able to save GS under these circumstances,
in the words of Winston Churchill, this will be our finest hour.