Senator Jerry Tillman and the rest of the General Assembly are on vacation this week even though they have not finished their most important task of the summer, passing a state budget for the next two years.
The delay is causing problems for school districts across the state as local education officials don’t know how many teacher assistants they can afford to hire or how many textbooks they will have money to order.
This morning’s News & Observer detailed the uncertainty for year-round schools in Wake County, the state’s largest district, that has the budget flexibility to handle the funding limbo for a while.
It is much tougher for smaller districts that always have to scramble to make sure they have enough staff on hand when most students return to school in August.
This year’s legislative vacation and budget delay makes their job next to impossible. Tillman doesn’t seem too worried about not meeting the budget deadline or what schools are facing.
Sen. Jerry Tillman, an Archdale Republican, said the lead time to hire for the start of the school year depends on when legislators have a budget deal. The General Assembly approved a temporary state budget last week to keep the state running until Aug. 14.
“It could be two months, it could be two weeks,” he said.
School leaders in Wake and other districts have questioned finding the space to handle the lower class sizes proposed by the Senate. More teachers and lower class sizes may require some “creative scheduling” by districts, or “creative use of space,” Tillman said. “Most of them can handle it.”