The news is predictably grim for North Carolina’s children in the Senate Education Appropriations Sub-Committee 2009-2011 budget proposal presented this afternoon.
Here are some of the big changes:
* Increase class sizes across all grades by two students. A total cut of 5986 teacher positions. Job loss will be less due to natural attrition and turnover, but still…As for the quality of education…
* Zero out the Improving Student Accountability allotment that helps bring failing students up to grade.
* More at Four, Governor Easley’s signature early childhood intervention program, is transformed and downsized under the Senate’s proposal. The proposal is to move the More at Four program to Health and Human Services where it will see an overall cut of $40 million in 09-10 and also 10-11, when it will be re-configured a child care subsidy program (Child Care Subsidy Plus program).
* Take some of the teeth out of the accountability provisions of the Low Wealth and Small County allotment funds presumably allowing, by proxy, some more local flexibility.
* Cut 100 jobs at DPI in 09-10 and 200 more in 10-11.
* Allow furloughs at school districts for non-teacher personnel to cope with $9.4 million in school district ‘discretionary’ cuts.
* Increase pressure on counties with multiple school districts to merge them by funding one school district per county for six allotments in 2010-11.
* Increase pressure on counties that have them, to merge their multiple school districts by first changing the destination of funds to a per county basis, rather than a per school district basis, and then re-distributing that money between the multiple districts on a student count (so-called Annual Daily Membership or ADM). This would mean that in a county with two districts, state funding per student would be equalized between districts, even if their student composition was different. Some systems are exempt from this proposal, notably Nash-Rocky Mount, Edgecombe Co., Cleveland Co., and Gaston County.
* Downsize the Dropout Prevention Grant program to $1 million per year in 09-10 and 10-11.