Local Politics

House eyes deeper education cuts

Posted May 25, 2010

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— A state House subcommittee on Tuesday recommended reducing education spending by 3.3 percent in the coming year, a far deeper cut than those proposed by either the state Senate or Gov. Beverly Perdue.

The $360.5 million cut proposed by the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education compares with a $158.6 million cut in the Senate budget and $239.8 million in Perdue's spending plan.

State budget UNC system would take hit under House budget

The subcommittee did recommend funneling an additional $90 million in lottery funds beyond what the Senate offered to hire teachers in early grades next school year.

"We're going to protect the classroom in K-12 as much as possible," said Rep. Ray Rapp, chairman of the subcommittee.

House officials said they want to use some of the savings on education to restore some spending to Department of Health and Human Services programs, but most of the cuts will put the state in position to weather looming revenue issues in 2011-12.

A penny increase to the state sales tax rate that lawmakers passed last year is scheduled to expire at the end of June 2011, and federal economic stimulus money that has helped plug holes in the state budget will run out about the same time. Together, they account for an estimated $2.8 billion in revenue.

The University of North Carolina system could take a big hit in the House budget, with the subcommittee recommending a $107.7 million cut in spending. The Senate budget includes a $9.9 million increase for UNC, while Perdue wanted to increase university spending by $42.7 million.

"This isn't good," UNC Board of Governors Chairwoman Hannah Gage said as she walked the halls of the Legislative Building to lobby lawmakers for more funding.

"We've cut all the fat, and we've begun to cut into the muscle," Gage said. "We'll be cutting faculty. We'll be cutting hundreds and hundreds of jobs, which means students won't get the classes they need."

The House also wants the estimated $34.8 million in revenue generated by the tuition increases lawmakers mandated last year at the system's 16 campuses to revert to the state's General Fund. Both the Senate and Perdue want the tuition money to stay on the campuses to use for financial aid and other needs.

"A family may have to increase their tuition, but their child won't reap the benefits on the campus (under the House plan). That's problematic," Gage said.

The subcommittee also recommended eliminating the discount booster groups receive to pay tuition for out-of-state UNC student-athletes, saving the state $9.4 million.

Senate leaders said they are concerned that deep cuts could cripple the UNC system.

"It's going to be up to the House to convince us maybe we're missing something or maybe they have insight we don't have," said Sen. Tony Foriest, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Education and Higher Education.

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  • wayneboyd May 27, 2010

    Why is it only the schools that are whining, It's a known fact that there's enough fat in administration alone to be cut and save every teachers job in N.C. So bite the bullet and get'r
    done.

  • Mustange May 26, 2010

    VOTE THIM ALL OUT! ALL OF THIM! START OVER NEW !!!!

  • wildcat May 26, 2010

    Just shut them down!!!

    So I see you don't really care for the young students. Shame on you!

  • Plenty Coups May 26, 2010

    Whoops. Misunderstood your post waffleof death. Disregard mine.

  • littleriver69 May 26, 2010

    Very tired of listening to this subject. If you can't afford to run the schools in NC the way they need to be, then just close them all down. Just shut them down!!!

  • Plenty Coups May 26, 2010

    waffleofdeath-"Why don't we just create technical schools for the children- teach them computer skills and medical skills- it seems that things like literature, art, P.E. and history have no bearing in our nation's GNP."

    Our country isn't just about GNP. When you cut PE, you help contribute to obesity. When you cut history, you contribute to voter apathy, ignorance, and a lack of citizenship skills. When you cut art and literature, you cut culture and literacy.

  • Plenty Coups May 26, 2010

    "Still top heavy with administrators. When most of them have been eliminated you'll get sympathy from me."

    Maybe. There are some. However, they won't make a huge impact because there aren't that many of them compared to regular teachers.

  • Plenty Coups May 26, 2010

    "The LOTTERY - like other states, it has proven not to increase funding for education, but to cut the general fund funding for education."

    I really don't understand this line of thinking. If you receive 250 million from whatever source, its still 250 million. If the education system then receives that money, thats 250 million less that has to be paid for by taxes.

  • djcnty8 May 26, 2010

    How about we cut some of the funding to DHHS since more than 40% of in-service care is not have been receiving it in the first place.

    Not to mention that regardless of how much money goes into the current education system, most of it goes to pay for the salaries of Senior Administrators and Directors. How much was Dr. Burns getting paid while on the job? Somewhere around $200K. Nice money management!

  • armyLT0620 May 26, 2010

    "We're going to protect the classroom in K-12 as much as possible,"
    ---
    How? With a cut in spending of almost half a BILLION dollars?

    "The subcommittee did recommend funneling an additional $90 million in lottery funds beyond what the Senate offered to hire teachers in early grades next school year."
    ---
    For what? With a half a billion dollar cut, the state will want to tell them to take pay cuts, lay teachers off, or force them to take furloughs. How about we cut a half billion dollars from legislative fat cats and see what happens. Our schools, roads, and public well-being improve.

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