Do you remember the 1990s when North Carolina’s public schools led the South in quality education? Our schools used to rank well, but lately national report cards show us falling behind.

Imagine if we could meet the needs of every child in our public schools without increasing taxes or cutting other state services. We can!

There is money available in Raleigh right now for educating our students, but we don’t have it.

North Carolina has been court ordered to follow a detailed roadmap — known as the Leandro Plan — for ensuring every child has access to a sound basic education by 2028. Unfortunately, both budget proposals in the NC House and Senate fall woefully short of funding Leandro.

Perplexingly, these proposals leave enough money unspent in state coffers to easily fund Leandro for the next two years.

If the General Assembly upheld this constitutional obligation, Henderson County’s school budget, for example, would see a 134% increase for instructional support, 61% increase for children with disabilities, and a whopping 1868% increase for disadvantaged student supplemental funding by Fiscal Year 2028, according to

Join me in urging our legislators to provide our students with what they deserve — without spending an extra dime!

Mary Ellen Kustin, Hendersonville

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