Local News

Budget Indecision Taking Its Toll On Schools

Posted July 31, 2002 9:31 a.m. EDT

— The state budget situation is already affecting classrooms that will soon be filled with students. Educators said those classrooms likely will not be filled with necessary supplies.

Vance County is one of many school systems coping with indecision by lawmakers in Raleigh.

Thursday, teachers at

Zeb Vance Elementary School

begin getting paid for their work in the classroom.

"I know there hasn't been a day this summer I haven't seen a teacher in this building somewhere working," said David Hawks, Zeb Vance principal.

Hawks said teachers donate their time because they want to be ready for a school year without many of the instructional materials they need.

"We need more reading books. We make an order and the order has to be put on hold until we see how much money we have," teacher Catherine Fisher said.

Legislators will decide how much money classrooms will get if they can, in fact, decide on a budget.

"I'm frustrated with the folks that are still playing politics in Raleigh. A week from tomorrow, our children return," Hawks said.

Not only are they making do with fewer materials, but many teachers who are accustomed to having extra help in the classroom expect to go without assistance this year.

"In this county, they've laid off 30 teacher assistants," Hawks said.

Vance is considered a low-wealth county. In tough times, it has to do without many things wealthier school systems take for granted.

Teachers said it is tough, but they have learned how to improvise.

The elementary school's PTA raised money to link all classroom computers to the school network. Even with all the fundraising efforts, the school expects its library budget to be cut in half.