The centerpiece of Easley's plan is to provide a volunteer pre-kindergarten program for at-risk kids and hire enough new teachers to reduce classroom size in kindergarten and first-grade classes.
"I think the bottom line is parents want their kids to be in smaller classrooms. That's what provides the real learning experience," says Alan Hirsch of the Governor's Office.
The budget plan includes a two-percent pay raise for all state employees and reduces state agency spending. It also eliminates 173 vacant positions.
The plan also builds in a lottery in the second year of the two-year budget. A projected $300 million in lottery proceeds would go towards education.
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