School leaders predict bleak future for public education

Posted June 14, 2010

School Funding (Generic)

— Nearly two dozen school system superintendents from across North Carolina held a news conference in Raleigh on Monday to illustrate how proposed state budget cuts could hurt their students.

"We are at the end of our ability to make it work,” state school Superintendent June Atkinson said.

In Johnston County, there are lay-offs. In Chatham County, buses are barely able to get students to school. In Granville County, schools can't be kept clean, and in Forsyth County, schools are cutting courses.

"Quite frankly, we are frustrated,” Wilson County School District Superintendent Larry Price said.

Price said his county is dealing with larger class sizes and fewer positions. It’s among the many problems school districts across the state are dealing with.

"We are asking them (teachers) to literally take days without pay,” said Don Martin, the superintendent of Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

One by one, district leaders presented the challenges they will face if the state makes more cuts to public education.

"More arts and electives and foreign language and advanced placement classes will need to dropped," Wake County interim Superintendent Donna Hargens said. "The ability to support 21st Century learning initiatives will be handcuffed. With more cuts, we will be taking a giant step backward."

As schools looks for extra funds, budget negotiations continue between the state House of Representatives and the state Senate.

"No one wants to cut education anywhere and our priority is on preserving the classroom,” GOP Sen. Richard Stevens of Wake County said.

Lawmakers say they are continuing to work to save money in the budget for schools.

For example, Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, who is the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, says there are conversations between both chambers of the General Assembly on using an additional $90 million lottery funds to make up budget gaps.

"We can eliminate all the classroom cuts and instructional cuts throughout the state,” Glazier said of his proposal.


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  • wildcat Jun 16, 2010

    In Chatham County, buses are barely able to get students to school.

    Is the principal N. Boone leaving?

  • Plenty Coups Jun 15, 2010

    animal lover-"Don't get me wrong, I understand a need for good pay & benefits. But, by the same token, ALL the teacher workdays are pure luxury in this state. I asked a teacher-friend about that in another state ages ago; she couldn't believe the huge amt of the teacher workdays here. Does this indicate "spoiled"?"

    The national average for the number of days students spend in school is 180. NC students spend 180 days in school also. Workdays are in addition to this and are usually filled with workshops, meetings, lesson planning, and getting the classroom together or apart. The number of workdays is irrelevant in any case since they are in addition to the regular school days. To answer your question though, yes teachers in NC do have more workdays than teachers from states with unions. We work more and get paid less.

  • georgegray Jun 15, 2010

    Here's an idea: cut teachers last. AFTER you cut bigwigs at the central office and the money they spend on (1) consultants, (2) idiotic programs that make good teachers roll their eyes, (3) unnecessary technology (I love technology, but i-touches for whole schools, please), etc. The lowest paid people at most central offices pretty-much run the school systems while the highest paid people constantly spend money to justify their jobs.

  • mep Jun 15, 2010

    Well lets see, in the boom years, housing developments upon housing developments were built, and the people came. Now all those people are here, with their children, and the infrastructure is no where near what is needed to service all these people. A SERIOUS lack of foresight on those in charge of maintaining proper growth. Now we have far more children to teach in public schools, and thanks to the recession dwindling tax revenue to pay for it all. Quite a mess. Perhaps a nice kick back to the days of when school was reading, writing and arithmetic... and a lot less art, sports, and all the other fluff. Or you can just cuts jobs and services. Bottom line, unless NC gets ANOTHER govt bailout our kids will end up paying back (13 TRILLION so far), cuts will have to be made.

  • heelrox Jun 15, 2010

    Glad my kids are in Charter school.

  • oyid Jun 15, 2010

    Be prepared. As their friends and cronies are raking in millions for unnecessary contract work, Raleigh is gearing up the "It's for the children" and "The children will suffer" talk to justify raising our taxes.
    Card Player

    I agree! We (citizens paying taxes) can easily find the waste and rustle up the money needed to close the budget gap. The fact that we're talking about a 'budget' implies that it is a flexible spending plan. That means some spending items can be taken out or postpone for a year or two. Let's use the reverse reasoning of "Buy it now because it will be more expensive in the future." - Because it is too expensive now, spend on some items in the future. But politicians need to spend money to show how much work they are doing for constituents. good grief.

  • childofjustice Jun 15, 2010

    I would like for my child to sit at home where it is safe and be taught by virtual teacher. I am willing to pay a teacher to sit at home and teach my child at home. This way my child can stay away from the bad influences of your bad children and my kid would get a decent one on one edumacation. This should be funded by the state but I am pretty sure it won't.

  • wily2002 Jun 15, 2010

    We need to increase clasee size, pay higher salary to keep or attract quality teachers ( get rid of unnecessary programs and un productive teachers). As we cannot support too many illegal immigrants on education (it is a money waste to have handout in both English and Spanish, also afftect high schoolgraduation rate). I heard that Montgomery County, Maryland in Northern DC area accomadates illegal immigrants well (provide free housing and medical insurances). We should ask them to go there. Or to that Los Angeles city in CA, that is loudest against Az state.

  • PirateHeist Jun 15, 2010

    Simple solution: Internet. While this doesn't resolve the loss of teaching jobs - education can be distributed in a much more standard and broad measure if it is taught through online courses.

  • AARRGGH Jun 15, 2010