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Potential budget deal spares teaching assistants

Posted May 27, 2011 11:44 a.m. EDT
Updated May 31, 2011 1:06 p.m. EDT

State budget

— The state Senate updated its 2011-12 budget proposal late Monday, just hours before negotiations were to begin over the bill. The compromise adds about $240 million to education spending to put the Senate's bottom line at $19.68 billion.

By comparison, Gov. Bev Perdue asked for a budget totaling $19.9 billion while the House passed an appropriations bill that added up to $19.4 billion and, most notably, eliminated funds for teaching assistants in grades 1-2.

The Senate compromise appears to restore those cuts, and the senior House appropriations chair said last week that body was prepared to do the same.

Rep. Harold Brubaker, R-Randolph, the chief budget writer in the House, said there's a plan afoot to set aside $260 million to $290 million more for K-12 education in next year's budget than the House spending plan offered earlier this month. The additional money would likely come from shifting funds currently proposed for government building repairs and renovations, public employee retirement contributions and the state's reserve fund, Brubaker said. There would be no additional taxes, he said.

The proposal, however, would have to clear several hurdles for it to become law.

Perdue has said repeatedly that she would veto any final bill that fails to protect all of public education. 

The Senate was to begin debating its proposal Tuesday at noon. WRAL.com will carry that discussion live. By law, a new budget must be approved before the fiscal year ends on June 30.