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Education cuts coming home to roost (UPDATED)

(This post has been updated to include a link to another story documenting local education cuts).
That muffled roar you’re beginning to hear is the sound of education leaders across the state confronting and reacting to the reality of the cuts in education that the new state budget imposes — you know, the new budget that Gov. McCrory and right-wing think tankers have been bragging about.

Yesterday, the High Point Enterprise reported on the comments of Randolph County Community College President Robert Shackleford, Jr.:

“The head of Randolph Community College, where GOP Gov. Pat McCrory signed his first bill six months ago on education, is warning of unwelcome consequences for his school because of the recent Republican state budget.

RCC President Robert Shackleford Jr. said the community college system portion of the budget will lead to higher costs for courses and probably cutbacks in classes.

The budget includes a $2.50 per credit hour tuition increase for community college curriculum students and a continuing education registration fee increase of $5 per course, Shackleford said. The budget also repeals the senior citizen tuition waiver for community college courses.

Shackleford maintains that community colleges overall will lose 1.6 percent in the state budget, a contention countered by a Republican leader in the General Assembly.”

Meanwhile, this is from this morning’s Greenville Daily Reflector:

“Pitt County Board of Education members on Monday heard criticism of state budget cuts from their interim superintendent and board chairman.

Interim Schools Superintendent Michael Cowin and board Chairman Marc Whichard said they expected the cuts to hinder education efforts this year, calling them ‘an embarrassment.

The officials said the 2013-14 North Carolina budget will negatively affect public instruction in several ways, including the elimination of teacher tenure and pay for teachers with master’s degrees.”

And this is from the Salisbury Post:

“The Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education tentatively agreed to a budget Monday that cuts more than 80 positions but spares most teacher assistants.

That’s in spite of the fact that the N.C. General Assembly cut 21 percent of its funding for teacher assistants, meaning $1.5 million less for the Rowan-Salisbury School System….

[Chief Financial Officer Tara] Trexler said that after adding up state reductions and expired federal funding, the school system faces a total deficit of $5.015 million.

She said staff has already made some cuts, including:

• Reclassification of human resources assistant superintendent position to executive director of human resources, saving $40,000.

• Restructuring of human resources department and cutting one HR specialist position, saving $40,000.

• Reduction of teaching positions, including non-renewal of teachers approved by the school board in May, saving $3.3 million.

• Restructuring of the AIG program, cutting four positions without impacting services, saving $200,000.

• Cutting instructional supplies by 2/3 of the state’s $600,000 cut, saving $400,000. The other $200,000 will be paid with local funds, which in the past have covered all state cuts to supplies.

‘We have cut over 200 positions over the past four years, and this would be an additional 88 positions that we have already implemented,’ Trexler said.”

13 Comments

  1. Doug

    August 7, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Not sure how anything can come to roost. There are no cuts to anything but the pie in the sky requests….and we are at the highest spending level ever with a $400,000,000 and 4.8% increase. There is a great graph on this page showing we are now past recessoin level spending, too bad you guys dont have a paste picture ability so I don’t have to link to another site though:

    http://ladyliberty1885.com/2013/08/05/school-vouchers-in-nc-for-low-income-students/

  2. NC Teacher

    August 7, 2013 at 11:31 am

    Doug,
    Are you saying that to pay teachers for Master’s degrees and National Board Certifications is a “pie in the sky” request? You, sir, have never been a teaching professional. That’s all I have to say to you.

  3. Bendal

    August 7, 2013 at 11:55 am

    Doug apparently fails to realize NC continues to grow in students attending public schools, meaning the education budget must continue to rise to keep pace with their needs. He also fails to realize that inflation requires additional spending just to keep even with past year’s expenses, so his claim that the current budget increases the overall education spending over last year (a common Republican statement) actually drops the per student spending, making it one of the lowest ever education budgets.

    I wonder if Doug ever questions why he can’t drive around as much in his car, since he keeps buying the same amount of gasoline for his vehicle every week that he purchased 10 years ago. Same situation with the education budget, Doug.

  4. Jim Wiseman

    August 7, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    It’s for The Children(TM) you know. Government school teachers can do what everybody else has to do when they don’t like how they’re treated by their employer – get another job, or shut up.

  5. George Greene

    August 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Doug needs to go back to school. The article FACTUALLY presented the relevant cuts. Positions are actually being eliminated. Class sizes are going up. And yet somebody can still SAY, HERE, IN PUBLIC, with a straight face, that ONLY “pie in the sky” is being cut???

    That all by itself is proof positive that our schoolchildren are not THE ONLY people whose education is underfunded.

  6. George Greene

    August 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    @Jim Wiseman I’m sorry you are resenting the wrong people.
    If your employer is doing you wrong then you should try to do something ABOUT that, NOT get another job or shut up. Voice is better than Exit. If you don’t know how to vote for your own interests, you are just going to resent not only yourself BUT YOUR CHILDREN into ignorance and impotence.

  7. Tony Colburn

    August 7, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    Jim- That’s exactly what the management of big corporations that don’t have to deal with unions say to their employees.
    North Carolina has been a “Right-to-work-for-Less” state for so long that the general public accepts unethical treatment as the norm.

  8. George Greene

    August 7, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Resentment, part 1:
    http://www.npr.org/2011/02/24/134003073/are-government-employees-too-well-paid

    Obviously, public sector workers HAVE NEVER been over-paid by comparison with their private
    sector counterparts, since their pay HAS ALWAYS had to come out of taxes, and who wants to pay
    taxes. The facts at the linked article are almost pearls before swine, though, to anyone stupid enough
    to think that people in government jobs are being unfairly privileged. It’s not like the people in those
    jobs ever had any BETTER a SHOT at getting them THAN YOU did. If you thought a government job
    was so much cushier, why DIDN’T YOU just get one??

  9. gregflynn

    August 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Apart from the fact that appropriations is not total state spending on education, the appropriations account for neither inflation nor growth in student population.

    Comparison of 2013-15 Budget to Past Budgets

    The state provides funds to public schools by using a combination of state appropriations and receipts. If you consider all state fund sources – appropriations plus receipt dollars from sales tax, fines and forfeitures and lottery funds – dollars are down while the number of students is up.

    Several years ago, the General Assembly began removing General Fund appropriations and replacing them with funds from receipts from sales tax, fines and forfeitures, and lottery funds. To local school districts and charter schools, it is all just state funds. So, when the total funding including these receipt sources is considered, in 2008-09 the total funding for public schools from state sources was $8,515,669,028. In 2013-14, the total funding from state sources is $8,233,098,909. That reflects $282,570,119 fewer dollars for public schools. Since 2008-09, public schools have grown by 33,419 students.

    From: Competing claims? NC Dept of Public Instruction analyzes state budget’s impact on schools by MountainXpress.

  10. George Greene

    August 7, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    Partisanship, part 2:
    http://www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/01/war-against-public-sector-unions
    Is NCAE what they’re really afraid of? Oddly, they never needed to fear SEANC
    because it has a Republican executive director and WAY too many Republican members.

  11. Kathy B

    August 7, 2013 at 4:25 pm

    The cuts will be noticed by we parents getting the kids ready for back to school. I can tell you my parents never had to send tissues, paper towels, hand soap and more for the classroom like I do not.

  12. Doug

    August 7, 2013 at 6:40 pm

    NC Teacher,
    I mean a $400,000,000 increase in funding is pretty huge…4.8% which is more than most people get in say a pay raise even in the private sector.

    Brendal,
    It does keep pace, we have been increasing in every year since the democrat led recession in 2009. We are now at RECORD levels of spending.

    George greene,
    You need to go back to school to read numbers…and maybe learn how budgeting works. There are NO cuts to the budget…only cuts to the “wish we had” or “stretch” budget. If these were times of high economic activity then those perspectives may work, but we are in a progressive overspending mess so no one gets their “hope for” budget.

  13. gregflynn

    August 8, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    “The 4.8 percent increase reflects increases in the state retirement contribution, hospitalization costs, and the 1.2 percent pay increase that was provided to teachers and public school personnel in 2012-13 but not placed in the public school fund at that time. These three things make up $259 million of the 4.8 percent “increase” in the public school fund, but these dollars are either not new to schools or represent status quo funding only, and will not go to support the additional services or personnel needed to help students learn.

    The Governor’s Continuation Budget and the final budget also restored $72 million to line items that were over-expended (longevity, workers comp, unemployment, etc.). This restoration also explains part of the difference in the two Money Reports.

    Finally, the public schools’ student population grew by 17,192 students. So, without going line item by line item, the simple comparison between Money Reports from last year and this year would indicate a difference of $359,407,582, or 4.8%.

    When you take that amount and back out the salary and benefit changes for FY 2012-13 ($259 million) and the coverage for over-expended line items ($72 million), you are left with $28 million to serve 17,192 more students. By the way, the actual cost to serve these new students is more than $5,400 each but the amount provided in this budget is far lower, $1,629 per student.”
    – MountainXpress