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The Fiscal Research Division Briefing on Major Budget Drivers was held on Tuesday. The presentation outlined the State Budget and General Fund and the growth trends in the areas of education and Medicaid.  In 2000-2001 the state budget was $13.81 billion with $7.58 billion dedicated to education. In 2008-2009, the state budget totaled $20.96 billion with $11.42 billion for education. This shows a growth rate of 5.3 percent for education, which is equal to the overall growth in the state budget. Areas of major growth were Debt Service 13.1 percent and Medicaid, which has grown at 9.3 percent annually. Medicaid funding will continue to be a challenge in the future. During the past 8 years teacher salaries have increased by 76.7 percent, while the increase to state employees was 45.2 percent and the Consumer Price Index was 43 percent. Three major factors are responsible for the increase in funding to public schools, student enrollment, teacher salaries and class size. Public schools represent 37 percent of the General Fund Budget. The fastest growing part of the education budget is the Universities. State per pupil allotment for public schools is $5,414, community colleges, $4,903 and universities $12,897. http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/fiscalresearch/frd_reports/frd_reports_pdfs/Session%20Briefings/Major%20Budget%20Drivers%20FER%202009.pdf


On Wednesday, fiscal staff reviewed higher education. The topics for discussion included governance, budget and funding for 2008 and 2009.  Richard Bostic presented for the Universities and Andrea Poole on behalf of the Community Colleges. The major funding issue for 2009-2010 will be the $47 million needed to fund enrollment growth for the universities. Of note was the UNC graduation rate for the constituent institutions: 4 years-35.1 percent, 5 years-54.2 percent, 6 years-58.7 percent. http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/fiscalresearch/frd_reports/frd_reports_pdfs/Session%20Briefings/Total%20Ed%20Overview%20Presentation%20-%20Feb%2011%20-%20FOR%20WEB-%202009_02_10.pdf


On Wednesday, Speaker Hackney announced the Committee chairs. Appropriations members are:  Representatives Mickey Michaux-Senior Chair, Alma Adams, Martha Alexander, James Crawford, Phillip Haire, Maggie Jeffus, Joe Tolson, and Doug Yongue.  Education Appropriations members are: Representatives Rick Glazier, Marian McLawhorn, and Ray Rapp. Education policy members are:  Representative Larry Bell and Marvin Lucas.


On Tuesday, February 17th the staff will review public schools.


The Federal Stimulus Package was passed by the Senate 61-37 this week. The Senate made several changes to the House plan. Those include cuts to the following items: School Construction $16 billion, Child Nutrition $98 million, Title 1 $600 million, and State Fiscal Stabilization Funds $40 billion. On Wednesday, House and Senate conferees reached agreement on a $789 billion package. The bill has gone to House Rules and is expected to be voted on Friday/Saturday. The details of the funding for NC public schools will be provided once that information is available. Preliminary information is as follows: State Fiscal Stabilization Funds include $53.6 billion, of which $39.5 billion may be used to prevent cuts in education funding, $5 billion to states as bonus grants for meeting key education performance measures, and $8.8 billion for high priority needs such as public safety, modernization and renovation of schools and institutions of higher education. In addition, there are funds for Title 1, $13 billion and Special Education/IDEA, $12.2 billion. Other education funding includes: $15.6 billion to increase the maximum Pell Grants by $500.00 to aid seven million students pursuing higher education, and $3.95 billion for job training to help the displaced adult worker.


Bills Introduced:


HB 92 North Carolina Science Olympiad Funds

HB 94 Clarify Definition of Retirement

HB 125 Raise Cap on Charter Schools

HB 126 Eliminate the Cap on Charter Schools

HB 149 Require Arts Education Credit for Graduation

HB 154 Appoint State Superintendent

HB 155 Appoint State School Superintendent

HB 160 Teacher Assistants in Special Education Classes/Personal Leave

HB 161 Require Six-Year-Olds to Attend School



SB 96 No “Texting” While Driving

SB 100 Study Innovations/Incentives in Education

SB 122 Students Under 16 May Attend Community College

SB 137 Military Death/In-State Tuition/Dependant

SB 149 Lapsed Salaries Revert

SB 156 Session Limits

SB 157 Eminent Domain

SB 160 Students Under 16 May Attend Community College

SB 172 Allow Charter Schools in 100 Counties


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