It appears both House and Senate leaders are in no hurry to to hammer out the differences in their respective budget plans.
House Speaker Tim Moore is already talking about a continuing resolution that could last well into the summer. Here’s what Moore told reporters for the Raleigh News & Observer:
“The issue will be how long. I don’t believe it is realistic to expect that we will have a budget by July 1. So we need a continuing resolution in place so state agencies, schools and so forth will be able to plan at least some for next year.”
The speaker added: “We will be here as long as we need to be. I’m in no hurry.”
Rep. Chuck McGrady, one of key budget writers on the House side, believes lawmakers may be in Raleigh through August:
“I’m expecting to be here until Labor Day,” McGrady said.
That would be especially bad news for teaching assistants, nervous about whether their positions will be funded in the next school year.
As a Friday editorial in the Fayetteville Observer explains:
Both budgets try to beef up teacher pay. It appears all of our lawmakers want to scrape education funding off the bottom of the national barrel. But the Senate will balance its education budget on the backs of teacher assistants, getting rid of more than 8,000 of them over the next two years. If it happens, the Senate will be kicking off yet another crisis for our public schools, especially those in low-wealth communities that are already struggling to provide an adequate education. Creating a few more lead teachers in return for those cuts won’t get the job done.
The leadership in the House and Senate have found one area of agreement. Both chambers will not be meeting July 6 – 10th. They’re taking a week off for a summer break.
For more on the budget differences between the House and the Senate, click here.