Local Politics

State cuts expected to hit classrooms

Posted February 10, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

State budget
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— State lawmakers have been trying to steer clear of cutting education spending as they try to erase a $2 billion budget deficit, but analysts said Tuesday that likely will be impossible.

Education budget could be cut

Education and Medicaid account for about 70 percent of the state's general fund budget, and analysts with the Fiscal Research Division of the General Assembly said filling the $2 billion hole in the current budget will eventually require digging into those accounts.

"You can't cut more than 10 percent (of the $21 billion budget) and not approach every part of state government. Everybody will feel the pain," Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, said.

"We're going to have to keep educating our kids. They don't have time to wait for (the economy) to come back up," said Rep. Becky Carney, D-Mecklenburg.

Over the past eight years, North Carolina's education budget has grown by more than 50 percent, to $11.5 billion, as the state's population has grown.

Some Republicans said wasteful spending could be cut from the education budget, and money could be used more efficiently.

"I'm not sure we're getting a bang for our buck in our educational process. We've seen a 30 percent dropout rate. We see we're not keeping up with test scores very well," said Sen. Neal Hunt, R-Wake.

Rand said the state has no control over the number of students in public school, but lawmakers can control spending on teacher salaries and the size of classes in schools.

"Those are things within our control and things we'll really have to look hard at," he said, though he declined to elaborate on possible cuts.

58 Comments

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  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 11, 2009

    Two relevant quotes come to mind...ok, they're basically bumperstickers. :-)

    "If you think education is expensive, try ignorance."

    "It will be a great day when schools have all the money they need and the military has to hold a bake sale to buy a bomber."

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 11, 2009

    Build these schools and we'd save a LOT of $$ for centuries and protect our children during storms.
    http://static.monolithic.com/gallery/schools/supers/index.html

    Raleigh already has one as a private school (School of Communication Arts): http://static.monolithic.com/gallery/schools/sca/index.html

  • Wiser_now Feb 11, 2009

    Lots of money could be saved by going back to basics. Stop wasting money on the latest fad to making learning fun. School requires work. The kids need to learn this in school so they can apply the discipline and coping skills they learn there to real life. Hold the KIDS accountable for their actions and grades. Parents keep getting dumped on about this - though parents can help out alot by losing the "not my angel mentality". Also, get over the nonsense about harming a kid's self-esteem by giving kids a failing grade if that's what they earn. Promotions and raises are handed out in the real world when a person earns them, not to boost self-esteem. Self-esteem comes from within - that's why it's SELF-esteem.
    --- Just my 2 cents....

  • all4him Feb 11, 2009

    What they fail to mention is one of the causes for this deficit. My husband had come across it yesterday somewhere. But the state pays for the teacher's insurance and to add their spouses and children, the family plans are much more expensive then most companies offer. So they end of taking their free insurance and then their spouse and children have their own insurance because it is cheaper. So because the state is putting out all this money for teacher's insurance and not seeing any money coming back in to replenish what they are spending. Now I was one of those teacher's who had my own and my husband has his own, but I think that if the state has the teachers pay for their insurance and make a deal to have the family plans offered cheaper they might start seeing some money coming back in. It won't fix it but it would help. I would rather see that than teacher's salaries cut! They don't get paid near what they deserve now let alone any taken away!

  • jgirl5830 Feb 11, 2009

    mr. clean is right,if they would stop trying to be politically correct and get rid of entitlement programs like more at four which is nothing but free day care for low income kids and stop spending millions busing kids all over for diversity they could save millions with just those 2 things. The school systems need to stop playing social services for low income students and focus on education, academics is what they are in school for not free stuff.

  • mr clean Feb 11, 2009

    How about making parents responsible for raising their children instead of spending over two million dollars for state funded child care, also known as Smart Start and More at Four.

  • truth-hurts Feb 11, 2009

    1Moms view - you are absolutely right! Before we start cutting the money going into education, we should carefully examine and cut the wasteful spending and frivolous expenses already in there.

  • thevickfamily Feb 11, 2009

    It is time for state lawmakers especially Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand to really understand what and who a child is. Children are first and foremost the smartest people in the world. Adults should put them as a top priority in everyway. Teachers are with these children in most cases more than the parents. They have the task of educating them and taking care of them, training them to go into the world and be a success. It's the most important job IN THE WORLD even more important than being a politician. And for a state lawmaker to even imply that cutting teachers salaries when they are already not getting paid anywhere near enough considering what they do is absolutely absurd. Teachers should be starting out at least $50,000 a year if not more...Again teaching is the most important job in the state, because teachers have the future in their hands and they can shape it anyway they want it. State lawmakers need to wake up and get serious about teacher pay and funding of education.

  • mrduffin Feb 10, 2009

    Durham Public Schools top 9 positions make about $2,000,000 a year. That includes the superintendent, two associate superintendents, and 6 assistant superintendents. The system could save $1,000,000 by getting rid of half of them and make the others earn their outragous salaries. Durham Public Schools test results show that the nine are not getting the job done anyways so they will not be missed.

  • Jeff_W Feb 10, 2009

    What happened to the NC Education Lottery? Where is all that money going? How is it schools operated when there was NO lottery, and now that we have one, they still have NO money?

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