Education chief calls budget "smoke and mirrors"

Posted June 4, 2011

State Board of Education chairman Bill Harrison joined House Democrats Friday to warn about the effects of the GOP budget proposal on K-12 classrooms.

Republican leaders say the cuts they’re making to public education will not affect the classroom. They say their budget protects teachers and teaching assistants by giving local officials the flexibility to cut spending elsewhere, like support services and administration.

Harrison called that claim “smoke and mirrors” and “categorically untrue.”

Harrison said 88% to 91% of local budgets are personnel. He said districts have already pared staff outside the classroom during the last two years of deep budget cuts.

He said he met with more than a dozen school superintendents Friday morning who told him the $124 million in additional local cuts will mean pink slips for teachers. “There is no where else to go,” he said.

GOP leaders say the state needs educational reform, and their budget takes the first steps toward that with $61 million for more teachers to help lower class sizes in early grades. But Harrison said the local cuts will take away twice what budget writers have added. State School Board Chair Bill Harrison Democrats, education chief denounce GOP budget

“The system needs to be improved, no doubt about that,” Harrison said. “But to say that this budget can do anything to improve schools is totally misguided, totally misleading.”

Watch the whole press conference at right.


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  • thewadsworth Jun 7, 2011

    Our education system in NC is too heavy at the top. We have small counties with too many assist. superintendents, and we have too many assistant principals. Let the cuts start there. Why is this too scary?

  • babbleon Jun 6, 2011

    Education has improved over the last decade - test scores are up, graduation rates are up - please, yankee1, tell me HOW you know 'johnny knows less and less'?

    Every stat I see shows NC as a whole holding or improving. Don't cherry pick one year or one school system - we all know Wake's got problems right now. Give me a real source that shows NC schools are NOT doing better now than in 2000.

  • yankee1 Jun 5, 2011

    Every other segment of the work force has suffered cuts and job losses. About time so called "educators" took a hit too. Year after year they want more and more, yet Johnny seems to know less and less. Time to suffer equally!

  • Mustange Jun 4, 2011

    Teachers the state budget is a prime example that they just dont get it, looks good on paper looks good for thim but let thim do the teaching for a while in a class room, drive a school bus, clean up behind sick kids and so on for a while and then lets see what they think then. Oh i forgot buy paper and pencils for kids that will not WITH YOUR OWN MONEY.