Sen Jeff Tarte responds to his $200,000 request for school supplies

RALEIGH, NC (WBTV) - Senator Jeff Tarte got some critical feedback for requesting a $200,000 grant for school supplies to be used exclusively for schools in his district.

The amount was found in North Carolina's nearly $24 billion budget.

The schools in Tarte's district are well-to-do schools. Some think the request in the budget sends a wrong message and leaves disadvantaged schools behind.

"We want kids to get the resources they need to succeed," CMS at-large board member Elyse Dashew said. "I am not sure I see that in that provision of the budget."

Senator Tarte is not apologizing for the request. He says the money would be divided between more than 30 schools in his district. He says that equals about $5,000 for each school to buy paper, pens and other supplies for students.

"One of the big issues from my teachers were we don't have," Senator Jeff Tarte said. "We have to pay for supplies sometimes out of our own pocket."

The $200,000 was supposed to be a grant through the organization and it would distribute the money to the schools.

That organization rejected the request citing the money used would be exclusive and not inclusive. Students would be left out.

Tarte says he will find another organization to use to distribute the money and is not backing down.

"It would be silly to take this money from my school teachers because somebody wants to play politics," Tarte said.

Some of Tarte's critics think this has nothing to do with helping students and everything to do with getting re-elected.

"I don't know if it has something to do with trying to get re-elected or trying to seek favor with constituents, but it is very out of sync without concern of equity in the community which is a community wide concern," Dashew said.

Voters head to the polls in November with a $200,000 gift from Tarte. We asked the politician does this money have anything to do with his bid to return to Raleigh.

"Everything does with your re-election," Tarte said. "Because everything you do, you get measured. Are you taking care of your constituents or not."

Tarte says other lawmakers could have made the same request for schools but didn't.  Tarte's request is expected to pass.

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