Local News

Board of Education chairman worries about budget cuts

Posted June 24, 2008 6:17 p.m. EDT
Updated June 25, 2008 12:04 a.m. EDT

— Howard Lee, chairman of the State Board of Education, warned Tuesday that state lawmakers could dramatically cut his budget, hurting teachers.

"I want you to be aware. I wanted you to share my misery,” Lee told Board of Education members.

House and Senate negotiators are still working through details of a compromise budget for state government.

The budget for diesel fuel for school buses is $30 million short of projected needs, and teacher bonuses are nearly $40 million less, Lee said.

"I don't want to declare doom at this point, but I did want to sound an alarm” to school districts around the state, Lee said.

More than 200 members of the State Employees Association of North Carolina also rallied Tuesday over the budget.

Both House and Senate spending plans offered average 3 percent raises for teachers. Other state employees would receive either a 2.75 percent pay raise or an $1,100 bonus, whichever is greater.

Association executive director Dana Cope said raising the state employee percentage to 3 percent would show that the General Assembly respects all state workers.

Cope said the price tag to raise the percentage and provide the bonus is about $30 million.