Opinion: McCrory plan for education in need of balance

Kevin Griffin

Kevin Griffin

Kevin GriffinIn the few months he has been governor, Pat McCrory has shown a great willingness to target education in his desire to cut the budget, a willingness which was further evident last week when McCrory’s budget included $138 million in cuts to the UNC system, according to The Herald Sun.

Now, some representatives have brought up the idea of closing down one or two campuses in the UNC system to afford the cuts.
The purpose of these measures is ostensibly to cut down on waste in the system and to increase efficiency, wral.com reports.

However, simply cutting from a university system that has already seen $400 million cuts in the past years without a greater consideration of the available options is not a good way of increasing efficiency or eliminating waste.

UNC President Tom Ross said he worries that the cuts might have an impact on the quality of education in the system.

The challenge is finding ways to balance the real need to reduce waste in the system with the need to continue to provide quality education.
One of McCrory’s suggestions for compensating for the loss in funds is increasing tuition for out-of-state students by 12.3 percent at certain schools, according to The Herald Sun.

The primary advantage of this plan is that it would take some burden off of in-state students, but could also easily dissuade out-of-state students from coming to any of the schools in the UNC system.

What is needed is a more nuanced view that locates areas of waste and cut those, while also looking outside education to find ways to deal with budget issues.
For example, McCrory’s budget included no tax increases, not even any that would primarily affect only the wealthy. In fact, his budget includes a provision to repeal the estate tax, a tax that tends to affect the wealthy most.

Perhaps a process could also be set up where areas of system-wide waste could be examined, isolated and something could be done to cut these out.
The UNC system is among the most revered education systems, and it makes many notable contributions to the state in terms of the economy and research fields.

It is also one of the largest parts of the budget and should not necessarily be untouchable.

However, great thought should go in to what should be cut, and alternative means of dealing with problems should be investigated before doing things that could affect the great system we have cultivated for so long.

Griffin, a freshman journalism major from Madison, is the opinion editor.