November 20, 2010
Governor Perdue requested a plans for 5% and 10% cuts from all state-funded agencies.
DPI provided their recommendations this week for cuts to the public schools budget. A 5% cut would result in a $369 million reduction in state funding, but the federal stimulus funding will also be gone, adding $304 million to this amount. A 10% cut would require $701 million and this coupled with the lost federal funds could mean as much as a $1.1 billion cut to the K-12 budget.
Information released today indicates part of the DPI recommendation includes raising class size one student, from 18 to 19, in K-3. Class increases are also being recommended for Grades 4-12. In addition, teacher assistants would be eliminated except for Kindergarten. This would eliminate 13,000 teacher assistant positions. Funding for teacher assistants were hit hard in the past few budget years and so this is not surprise, but how will teachers manage with more children and less help in Grades 1-3.Other areas recommended to be cut are professional development and technology, two areas heavily funded in the federal Race to the Top grant.
Remember, this is just the beginning of the 2011-2012 budget process. Governor Perdue is expected to release her plan for trimming state government soon, which may help to limit the cuts to public schools that were proposed by DPI. The 2011General Assembly convenes in late January and the new Republican Senate and House majority members have already said they want to look at zero-based budgeting, and require justification for all state spending. School systems in NC will begin to understand soon what it will mean to them as the state faces a $3.2 billion deficit in preparing their 2011-2012 budget.
Hang on tight folks, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride for education funding next year.