State News

School districts asked to return $58M to state

Posted November 19, 2008

— To help ease North Carolina's state budget shortfall, school districts are being asked to return $58 million they've already received from the state.

The Department of Public Instruction told the 115 districts this week that they must return money based on their student populations. The request equals about $39 per student.

Wake County is expected to send back about $5.4 million, while Cumberland County will lose about $2 million. The districts in Franklin and Granville counties are losing more than $300,000 each because their budgets are much smaller than the urban districts' budgets.

"We all know that we're in the same boat. We see the same figures that they see. We understand that we all share this problem," said Allan Jordan, associate superintendent of Granville County Schools.

Gov. Mike Easley's budget office has assembled a plan to find up to $1.2 billion. Easley didn't make public school reductions mandatory, but the department said it could find up to $117 million.

"The governor and the state budget office [have] tried, (from) when the state budget opened up essentially in July all the way until now, not to take this action with the public schools," said J.B. Buxton, deputy superintendent of the state Department of Public Instruction.

Seven years ago, Buxton said, public schools were asked to give back $44 million during a budget crisis. That was a larger percentage of state spending on education at that time than the $58 million is this year, he said.

State money pays for teacher base salaries, textbooks and other instructional needs. The public schools regularly return unused money at the end of each fiscal year. Districts are being given discretion over where to make the cuts.

Buxton said he doesn't believe teachers will lose their jobs because of the tight budget.

Jordan said Granville schools would spread the cuts across all departments to minimize the impact.

"Our children are the most important resource we have. We should try not to cut at all," said Carol Nelson, a teacher in Oxford. "I understand that the state has to tighten up in order to be able to run things efficiently, but we really are not wasteful."

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  • ginlee00 Nov 21, 2008

    I want to know exactly how much lottery money has been used for education and when the money was given and where is was used. I believe the lottery is a CROCK, and NONE of the millions brought in by the lottery has actually gone to EDUCATION. I WANT TO KNOW WHERE THIS MONEY IS AND WHO IS POCKETING IT !!!

  • donaldmcneil1 Nov 20, 2008

    I'm so glad we instituted the lottery to cover Education costs!!!! Not to mention that the kids have to provide paper to put in school copying machines! What a travesty!

  • Mustange Nov 19, 2008

    How about asking Goodyear tire company to give back state tax payers BAILOUT money.

  • littlegramma Nov 19, 2008

    What a joke this state government is! I've only seen it go downhill over the past 22 years. And too many of you complaining elected these corrupt guys over and over, including putting whiny Perdue in the governor's seat!

  • anothersmallbusinessman Nov 19, 2008

    Is the Governor asking for the 6.5 million dollars in the budget for the pet project of Mark Bassnight in Wanchese? Legislators should look at their pork for the money.

  • wllmbraskey Nov 19, 2008

    Are you kidding me, are you g kidding me! The one thing they need to spend money on is those kids, the lottery is a sham, Mary Easly spends 10's of Thousands on Limo's and they want to take - PENCILS - PAPER - COMPUTERS - BOOKS - from the people who need it the most. This is as ridiculous as the BAIL out for the "Financial Institutions"

  • Scrapper Nov 19, 2008

    And do you think it is going to be any better under Perdue???

  • 1Moms_View Nov 19, 2008

    They push the riciculous NCLB and say more money is required to make it work (which it never will because not all children are capable or ever will learn at the same rate. Then they want money back. Make up your minds.

  • BadDayforButch Nov 19, 2008

    The Education Governor ? Yeah right !

  • whatelseisnew Nov 19, 2008

    So when can I expect a rebate check from the county and the state because I overpaid taxes. It is not the state's money or the counties money; it is our money that they took from us.

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