May 22, 2009
By Rochelle Williams
North Carolina's state government faces a historic budget shortfall - close to $5 billion or more than 20% of the total budget for fiscal year 2009-2010 alone. And as a result, many crucial education programs are at risk of being cut. On Wednesday, the House Education Appropriations Subcommittee unveiled proposed budget cuts that would reduce the education budget by $1.3 billion in FY 2009-10 and by $1.7 billion in FY 2010-2011. The 2009-2010 proposed education budget, which totals over $10.9 billion, includes $900 million in cuts from K-12 and $400 million from higher education. Prior to unveiling the budget, Committee Chair Rep. Rick Glazier (D-Cumberland) stated that many of the cuts were "draconian and will have a dramatic impact on education in the state." Proposed House cuts include:
- Shorten the school year by 10 days.
- Increase class sizes and eliminate 6,005 teacher positions.
- Eliminate 4,663 teacher assistant positions in grade 3.
- Reduce Low Wealth Supplemental Funding.
- Eliminate 354 counselors, media staff, and social workers.
- Cut school building administrative staff.
- Reduce non-instructional support positions.
- Reduce Small County Supplemental Funding by $4.5 million.
- Cut More at Four funding by 10 percent.
- Eliminate the Learn and Earn on-line program.
- Eliminate literacy coaches.
- Reduce central office staff by 5.38 percent or $6.5 million.
- Eliminate 71 staff positions at DPI.
The proposal will now be given to the full House Appropriations Committee for approval. The House has set a target date of mid-June for completion of its budget. Before a final spending budget for the state can be approved, the House and Senate will have to meet to develop a joint budget proposal. Any items that are not in agreement will be resolved in conferences with appointees from both the Senate and the House.
It is critical that elected officials hear from folks in their communities about the importance of maintaining high quality public education and other vital public programs and services. On June 3rd, Together NC, a collection of more than 60 non-profit organizations, service providers, and professional associations, will hold a town hall meeting in Winston Salem to discuss the need for elected officials to make budget decisions that support communities and families and do not undermine the state's economic recovery. Attend the meeting and help Together NC spread the word. Wednesday, June 3rd. 6:00 to 8:00 pm at the Children's House, 1001 Reynolda Road.
Education Policy 101 for Parents Community Advocates
The NC Justice Center's Education and Law Project is accepting applications for its Education Leadership Institute (ELI). The program is designed to educate parents and community members about North Carolina education policy so that they can advocate for high-quality public schools in their communities. The four-day, 30-hour seminar takes place on June 5-6 and 19-20. To enroll in the training, participants must commit to attending all four days.
NCCARE members who have not attended ELI before are stronglyencouraged to enroll in the upcoming training.
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