Students hail NCGA’s funding for Governor’s School

Published 6:28 pm Tuesday, June 20, 2017

North Carolina Governor’s School is likely safe for at least two more years.

On Tuesday, a joint House-Senate committee presented its final proposal of the General Assembly’s latest budget, in which $800,000 was allotted for Governor’s School in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

Earlier this year, the state Senate announced a proposal to cut funding altogether for Governor’s School, much to the dismay of the program’s supporters.

“To cut funding from this program would not only be unjust and unwarranted, but it would in fact be doing a massive disservice to all of the students in the state of North Carolina,” Beaufort County native Latrell Broughton wrote in a May letter to legislators.

“It would be depriving them of a life-changing opportunity, an opportunity to grow exponentially, an opportunity to expand their minds and pursue their interests, and most of all, the opportunity for them to be their true selves, without fear of being judged,” Broughton continued.

Broughton attended Governor’s School in 2013, and graduated from Beaufort County Early College High School in 2015. The program offers approximately five weeks of classes in various concentrations, from music to natural science. Usually starting in mid-June, it is divided into two segments. Governor’s School East meets at Meredith College, while Governor’s School West meets at Salem College. Students must apply to be a part of the summer courses and pay a fee of $500.

As opposed to the Senate budget, the House of Representatives proposed its own budget that left the $800,000 for the program in place, and Tuesday’s joint budget proposal falls in line with this plan.

“Reaffirming North Carolina’s commitment to funding Governor’s School represents a renewal of an investment that has returned incredible dividends to our state and some of its most gifted students,” stated Lee Conner, president of the N.C. Governor’s School Foundation. “We have been amazed by the overwhelming number of voices that spoke out in support of Governor’s School in such a short amount of time.”

Mary Grace Wilder, a rising senior at Washington High School, is the county’s sole participant in Governor’s School this year. Wilder is a part of Governor’s School East, which started this week, in the natural science concentration.

She said she hopes Governor’s School will give her a chance to make new friends while also learning and exploring new ideas.

“I was excited by the opportunity to learn and ask questions in a community of motivated students without worrying about my grades,” Wilder said. “Governor’s School offers an amazing opportunity to meet people, embrace new ideas and expand your knowledge, helping you to become a more enlightened and learned individual overall.”

Both the House and Senate are expected to pass the latest budget proposal, perhaps as soon as Wednesday. It will then move to Gov. Roy Cooper’s desk.