Superior Court Judge David Lee signed a consent order in the long-pending Hoke/Leandro case on September 1, 2020. The order calls for $427 million in additional education spending to help the state meet its constitutional obligation to provide all children with the opportunity to obtain a sound basic education. This is the first step in an eight-year plan to meet the state’s constitutional mandate.
More than half — $235 million — of the recommended $427 million in additional spending would be earmarked for teacher pay raises. And $144.8 million would be spent to revise the state’s school funding formula to direct more money to students with the greatest needs. Additional funds would be available for students at risk of failing academically and for the expansion of early childhood education programs.
This plan provides for less spending in the first year of an 8-year, $8 billion plan that to which the parties agreed last January. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on students, schools, and communities — as well as its economic impact on the state — the parties shifted their immediate priorities. They agreed that if the state could not fund the items in 2021 due to revenue loss, the items should be funded in a following year of an eventual eight-year plan.
The “action plan” was developed by attorneys for the state Board of Education, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Justice, plaintiff school districts and plaintiff-intervenors. It now must also be approved by the Republican-controlled legislature.