Carolina Journal’s Dan Way reports on the latest potential use of tax dollars to lobby for more tax dollars. It comes from the North Carolina School Boards Association, which has created a new advocacy group called the North Carolina School Boards Action Center.
“What we face today is a battle for survival, both of public education as we know it and of the model of the locally elected board governance of public school system operations,” the memo said.
“Our ability to endure in the face of these extraordinary challenges requires that we recognize and accept the changed environment in which we operate and embrace new ideas and concepts in how we advocate,” the memo said.
“We’re facing challenges not only from the General Assembly but things that are coming from [the state Department of Public Instruction],” Morgan said in an interview.
“There’s a lot going on right now, a lot of different narratives, and the board felt that it was important for us to be in position, not only for the  short session but to gear up for the  long session a year out, to make sure our voices are heard and to be able to communicate with the general public, with parents, with teachers, with educators to make sure they’re aware of our issues and concerns that we’re working on,” Morgan said.
“I am not surprised that the NCSBA plans to escalate their advocacy efforts. The current Republican leadership in the state legislature is not as compliant as their Democratic predecessors were. And compliance was good for business,” said Terry Stoops, director of research and education studies at the John Locke Foundation.
“North Carolinians should demand that their local school board refuses to fund the N.C. School Boards Action Center. Tax dollars have no business being used to further the political agenda of any organization, let alone one that operates far from the mainstream,” Stoops said.
There’s nothing wrong with advocacy on behalf of a point of view or group of people as long as it is done within the law. However, funding advocacy with tax dollars is wrong. First, tax dollars should be used to fund core services. And second, those tax dollars have, in many cases, been paid by people who do not agree with the viewpoints of the advocacy group. If the school boards group wants to advocate, then it should raise private funds to do so and leave tax dollars to their appropriate use.