Check out the Public School Forum’s Friday Report

The Friday Report covers great topics including:

  • When Does the State Respond to Projected Layoffs?
  • Budget Cuts Likely To Go Much Deeper Than Anticipated
  • Charter Changes Unveiled
  • Just Because You’re Paranoid Doesn’t Mean They Aren’t Plotting Against You
  • General Assembly Sets Ambitious Budget-Approval Goals
  • State Board Releases 2011 Legislative Priorities




Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

In an interesting political move, the General Assembly is expected to grant what may be referred to as ’emergency budget super powers’ to the Governor this week.  Although it may appear harmonious at first, rest assured, this is anything but.  No doubt, there is some very savvy political play set to unfold – the details of which, are being closely guarded.   As for the rest of us… Waiting and watching is the name of the game.

Check out the story below:

From WRAL: Legislative measure gives Perdue more budget power

RALEIGH, N.C. — North Carolina lawmakers have rolled out a bill that would give Gov. Beverly Perdue more authority to reduce spending throughout state government to free up extra cash to help close an expected budget gap next year of more than $3.5 billion….


Interesting links from the NEA Web site:

Two Excellent N&O Articles

Civitas: The smart way to reduce education budgets

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011 | Written by Bob Luebke |

With the state forced to come to grips with a $3.7 billion budget deficit everyone knows cuts are coming to the K-12 education, the single biggest item in the state’s general fund budget.  The how and where of budget cuts is just as important as their size.  Unfortunately, the conventional wisdom is to weather the economic storm and apply across-the-board cuts.

This is a bad idea.  Doing so falsely assumes the economic downturn is a temporary hiccup and that all programs deserve to be treated equally.

What is needed now – more than ever – is to know how to remake and resize education spending but not impact student learning. It’s a challenging though not impossible task. Fortunately, Michael Petrilli and Marguerite Roza of the Thomas B. Fordham Institute provide policymakers with a blueprint of 15 ideas for how school districts can “smartly” reduce education budgets. The fifteen ideas include:

  • End last hired, first fired practices
  • Remove class size mandates
  • Eliminate mandatory salary schedules
  • Eliminate state mandates regarding work rules and terms of employment
  • Remove seat time requirements
  • Merge categorical programs and ease onerous reporting requirements
  • Create a rigorous teacher evaluation system
  • Pool health care benefits
  • Tackle the fiscal viability of teacher pensions
  • Move toward weighted student funding
  • Eliminate excess spending on small schools and small districts
  • Allocate spending for learning disabled students as a percent of population
  • Limit the length of time that students can be identified as English Language Learners
  • Offers waivers of non-productive state requirements
  • Create bankruptcy-like loan provisions

Granted not all these recommendations will be applicable and easy to implement. However, they represent a far better option for dealing with the current crises than slap-dash across the board budget cuts.  If you’re seriously interested in learning how our schools can navigate the current crisis, Petrilli and Roza’s suggestions should be considered a starting point for state and local discussions on the education budget.




House Republicans pick Tillis as speaker

From Under the Dome:

RALEIGH — Republicans members picked Mecklenburg County lawmaker Thom Tillis as speaker of the N.C. House this afternoon.

Tillis beat out current minority Leader Paul “Skip” Stam, an Apex attorney. That means that not only will the leader’s gavel will pass from the Democrats to the Republicans, but also that it will leave the Triangle: Joe Hackney, a Chapel Hill Democrat, had held the post since 2007.

Tillis, a 50-year-old management consultant who has worked for Fortune 500 companies, is congenial and polished, and has the reputation for focusing on the big priorities. He was first elected just four years ago, but has moved quickly up the leadership ladder in his party. He is currently minority whip, and generated hefty goodwill among fellow GOP members during this year’s campaigning by raising more than $350,000 to help Republican candidates to Stam’s more than $240,000.

Tillis’ selection still has to be elected by a vote of the full House when it reconvenes in January, but that is expected to be no more than a formality, given the GOP’s new 68 – 52 edge over Democrats.

He’ll move into the top job in the chamber as the Republicans begin a history-making year. It will be the first time in more than a century that the GOP has held both the House and Senate, and they’re eager to start work on a priority list of legislation that got nowhere under Democrats, including a proposal for a constitutional amendment to limit eminent domain and legislation to limit the effects of the federal health care overhaul on North Carolinians.

Read more:


NC Department of Public Instruction Recommends Cuts to Public Schools

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.


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