Gov. Roy Cooper visits New Bern to push education funding

NEW BERN, N.C. (WNCT)- Governor Roy Cooper visited eastern North Carolina Friday morning to discuss a major focus in his proposed budget — education.

Cooper stopped at Excel Learning Center in New Bern to talk about the importance of learning at a young age. He met with local administrators and teachers to hear their concerns then took a tour to see exactly what kids in pre-k are learning.

The governor’s goal is to increase enrollment in early education programs from 22 to 55%. Right now, about 4,700 kids in the state are on a waiting list for pre-k.

Cooper says his plan would also help by bringing back the childcare tax credit for middle-class families.

“Oftentimes, whether it’s a kid at school or whether it’s a kid in childcare or pre-K, we leave our children with caregivers for longer in the day than we get to see them when we are awake as parents,” Gov. Cooper said. “We trust them. So let’s put our money where our trust is.”

It’s a key part of Cooper’s proposed budget, which he presented earlier in the week. It would increase spending by more than five percent compared to the current budget.

Cooper defended his plan Wednesday, saying it’s time to catch up on spending investments in education.

That includes a 10 percent raise for teachers over the next two years.

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