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Budget Impasse Holding up School Plans

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ANGIER — Many of North Carolina's students return toschool this week, but a state budget impasse is making it unclearwhat may happen in the classroom.

Legislators continue to negotiate over a spending plan of about$14 billion. House and Senate leaders have agreed to payfor reducing kindergarten size, but schools cannot hire the teachersuntil a final agreement is reached.

The Senate plan would require the hiring of 567 teachers acrossthe state and reduce class size to 18. The House proposal wouldbring classes down to 19 and require 268 new teachers.

The indecision of lawmakers has also left doubt about how muchof a raise teachers will get and whether as many as 50 employees of the

state Department of Public Instruction

l lose their jobs.

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