NC large school districts oppose Senate budget

Posted by T. Keung Hui on June 6, 2014 

The superintendents of North Carolina’s 10 largest school districts are speaking out against the state Senate’s $21.2 billion budget.

The Senate proposes raising teacher pay by nearly $470 million through K-12 cuts such as reducing the number of teacher assistants. The N.C. Large District Superintendent Consortium, which represents more than 40 percent of the state’s public school students and includes Wake County and Charlotte-Mecklenburg, says the budget is “not right.”

“As a group we have great reservations about the currently proposed Senate budget, which attempts to address teacher pay through cuts to other departments of the education budget,” Wake County Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill said at Tuesday’s school board meeting. “In essence moving money from one pocket to the other. Additionally, other state agencies are being reduced as well in order to fund the Senate budget.”

Merrill said the Senate budget would cost Wake County $30 million, including nearly 700 teacher assistant positions and 70 teacher positions. Click here for a blog post that lays out details on the budget impact in Wake.

Looking at Wake, Charlotte-Mecklenburg and Cumberland counties, Merrill said the Senate budget would result in the loss of 181 teachers, 1,850 teacher assistants and $7.5 million in transportation funding.

“I just want us to think about that at a time when the economy is somewhat in a rebound, we're talking statewide about employment reductions, RIFs and layoffs of over 10,000 employees,” Merrill said. “There's something not right about those figures."

Merrill said the group would continue monitoring the budget process. The state House hasn’t yet released its budget plan.

The consortium has spoken out on other issues this year, including support for keeping Common Core, asking for higher teacher pay and requesting a halt on vouchers for students to attend private schools. Click here for an earlier position paper on those issues.

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