North Carolina school districts are taking the state to court…

In 2008, Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ordered the state to turn over $747.9 million in civil fines that should have been given to public schools over a nine-year period. With only $18 million provided so far, the N.C. School Boards Association and 20 school boards filed a new lawsuit Wednesday to get the state to meet its state constitutional obligation to provide the remaining $730 million.

The state Constitution requires that money from fines go to public schools.  A Supreme Court ruling in 1996 found that this applied to both criminal and civil fines.  A year later the state created a fund to collect the money.  However, they excluded penalties related to not paying taxes, fined paid by overweight trucks and parking tickets at universities.  The schools were not having it…

In 1998, the N.C. School Boards Association and several school boards filed a lawsuit to get the fine money that had been excluded.

In 2005, the state Supreme Court ruled in favor of the school districts and sent the case back to a lower court to determine how much money from 1996 to 2005 was owed.

Manning issued his order in August 2008 and said that the $747.9 million had to be used for technology.

Legislators turned over $18.1 million in 2009.

The Republicans are not at all happy with their Democrat predecessors…

“The judgment was reached against Democrat lawmakers over a decade ago as they were slashing education spending by over $700 million in two years, furloughing teachers and cutting their pay, but since that time Republican leaders in the state General Assembly made schools their top priority by doubling K-12’s share of new state spending and increasing total public education appropriations by nearly $3 billion a year,” Joseph Kyzer, a spokesman for House Speaker Tim Moore, said in a written statement.

“We have not seen the filing yet and will need time to review it,” Bill D’Elia, a spokesman for Berger, said in a written statement. “But we agree that Democrats broke their promises to support public education when they were last in charge of the legislature — including by freezing teacher pay, furloughing teachers and looting public school funds to cover budget deficits created by their failed tax and spend policies — and that’s why voters rejected them in 2010.”

The GOP has been dealt quite the crappy hand.  I guess this is par for the course.  The Democrats depleted almost every fund in the state and borrowed 2 billion dollars from the federal government.  It should not surprise us that they also shortchanged the schools.  Let’s not forget that at this time the Democrats were cutting education spending and furloughing teachers while cutting their pay.  We can’t be too surprised that they shorted the school of funding that they deserved.  Lucky for the current state leaders the schools seem open to options.  Whether it is a lower settlement or a payment plan, I have no doubt that the GOP will get the schools the money they deserve.  Just another example of the GOP cleaning up a mess left by their Democrat predecessors.

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