State Board of Education: Budget cuts 'will adversely impact our students'

Posted July 25

— The State Board of Education approved $2.5 million in cuts to the state Department of Public Instruction on Tuesday as a result of mandated budget reductions by the General Assembly. Most of the cuts are expected to impact low-performing schools and teacher training in the state. An additional $737,000 in cuts are expected in the coming weeks.

The board voted unanimously Tuesday to make $1.6 million in staff cuts to the state education department, which include:

  • Seven full-time employees
  • Three temporary employees
  • Eight vacant positions in the following divisions: district and school transformation (six positions), educator effectiveness (one position) and curriculum and instruction (one position)
  • 19 instructional coaches will get pay cuts and be reduced from 12-month to 10-month employees.

Board Chairman Bill Cobey declined to say which positions are being cut, citing personnel laws, but said they will be revealed at a later date. He said the majority of the staff cuts will be in the District Transformation and Educator Effectiveness divisions. The board plans to merge the two divisions into a new one, called District Support.

"Hopefully the districts can pick up any slack that is produced by this reduction," Cobey said. "We’re further reducing the service to the districts. Hopefully you won't see any huge impact any place, but there’s going to be marginal impact in certain places across the state. And we’re going to try our best to mitigate that."

The board also approved $865,168 in operating reductions, which include:

  • $306,705 – Contractual services
  • $143,666 – Employee education/professional development
  • $131,412 – Temporary employees
  • $87,493 – Travel
  • $69,365 – Supplies, materials, program delivery
  • $62,853 – Equipment/maintenance of equipment
  • $26,164 – Postage
  • $22,510 – Phone
  • $15,000 – Dues & subscriptions

Board member Eric Davis said the budget cuts "will adversely impact our students, especially those in districts and schools which rely most heavily on the Department of Public Instruction."

"And, so, my hope is that in future years our superintendent, in partnership with the General Assembly, will prevent future adverse impacts to our students through budget reductions to the Department of Public Instruction," Davis added.

State Superintendent Mark Johnson attended Tuesday's meeting by conference call and released the following statement after the board's vote:

"While these funding cuts will be challenging, I did not run for Superintendent of Public Instruction to shirk away from the challenges of leadership. The General Assembly is clearly frustrated with the lack of accountability of the State Board of Education, and I am too. The culture of a non-accountability created by the State Board is one of the reasons I sought funding for a top-to-bottom, third-party review of DPI. By studying the results from this upcoming operational review and working together with the professional staff at DPI, I believe the department will come out stronger, more efficient, and more effective at supporting public schools in NC. The Board seems to prefer to complain and instead focuses only on more of the same. I embrace the positive changes that can result from addressing this substantive challenge head-on. We can and will be a better DPI at the end of this process."

The General Assembly voted to reduce the state education department's operating funds by 6.2 percent – $3.2 million – for 2017-18 and 13.9 percent – $7.3 million – for 2018-19.

Despite those cuts, Republican lawmakers set aside $700,000 for Johnson to hire 10 employees for his office. They also provided him with $300,000 for his legal expenses while barring the state board from using taxpayer money to fund its lawsuit against the superintendent over control of the state's public school system.


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  • Sue Sloan Jul 26, 10:52 a.m.
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    I can in no way defend all of the bureaucracy at NCDPI, but I must speak on behalf of what so many in that agency do to assist schools and students every day--they take on the task of interpreting all of the unfunded mandates, acts, and regulations from the NC General Assembly, federal agencies, Congress, and President and truly assisting schools in complying with these constantly-changing environments. They collect and manage mountains of data that the state and federal government requires (but I can bet is never looked at). While I am absolutely certain that cuts and limits on terms of employment are warranted, I am afraid that, as always, things are done for the "circus show", and not to truly become more effective for our students. Just my two cents...

  • Cnc Stone Jul 25, 9:40 p.m.
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    The fact is they still voted the same way the democrats voted for all those years so the republicans are just as liberal as the democrats in this state ! Fact !

  • Cnc Stone Jul 25, 9:38 p.m.
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    Why will adversely effect students then ?

  • William Sherman Jul 25, 9:19 p.m.
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    Maybe I missed it, but I didn't see any classroom teachers being cut out---only bureaucratic
    people--which only has an impact on somebodys cousin, friend, uncle, aunt, etc...

  • Cnc Stone Jul 25, 8:49 p.m.
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    The rebulicans still voted to cut schools in North Carolina that's the same thing the democrats did all those years so like I said they are all
    Liberals !

  • Henry Cooper Jul 25, 8:05 p.m.
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    It has to do with accountability. It says it right in the article.
    State Superintendent:


    The General Assembly is clearly frustrated with the lack of accountability of the State Board of Education, and I am too. The culture of a non-accountability created by the State Board is one of the reasons I sought funding for a top-to-bottom, third-party review of DPI.
    Running schools should be getting cheaper. Digital text books alone save us millions. Newer schools are taking advantage of LED lighting which use less electricity over the long run and takes fewer to maintain (not as many bulb changes or fixture repairs). The number of home schooled kids and kids attending non public schools is growing as a % of the whole.

    Lastly, in no way do I think the schools boards gets the most out of our tax dollars. We need to push these people into a corner because it will be better in the long run for the tax payer and the students.

  • Norman Lewis Jul 25, 7:31 p.m.
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    Of these "cuts", how much will be from the bloated administration? Guessing not much. How many supernumerary "Administrators" and "Advisers" and overpaid "Consultants" does the Board of Education need? And explain how much you can "save" by deleting vacant positions that should not have a cost at all since no one is in those slots. I smell a heaping pile of you know what from the Board of Education.

  • Cnc Stone Jul 25, 4:50 p.m.
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    Lies lies and more lies from the liers ( politicians ) voted the same as 100 year old stuff wasn't comparing democrats , was comparing liberals all the same now days !

  • Andrew Stephenson Jul 25, 4:11 p.m.
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    View quoted thread

    Wait...what? That's the opposite of a liberal action. They are very pro-public school. I think you have your ideologies mixed up.

    Also, careful with comparing Democrats today to Democrats 100 years ago. Democrats and Republicans flipped ideologies about 100 years ago. So what you accuse them of 100 years ago is what the Republicans are looking for today.

  • Cnc Stone Jul 25, 4:07 p.m.
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    I would support cuts at the top contract limits bonus reductions based on performance ? Makes sense