By Betsy Burrows
Everyday Education 

Comparing House/Senate Education Budgets


The N.C. House and the N.C. House will meet in conference to “iron out the differences” and create a final budget. The following are a sampling of the educational proposals from both the Senate and the House Budgets.

In the Senate’s proposed budget, the overall University of North Carolina system’s budget for next year was cut by $96 million, community colleges were cut by $35 million, and the K-12 public schools were cut by $135 million. According to the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction, this year’s discretionary reduction of $359 million to K-12 education will cost North Carolina 4,300 classroom teachers, 444 Career and Technical Education teachers and millions of dollars in support programs. Here are additional highlights of the Senate’s proposal:

• Eliminates salary increases for teachers earning advanced masters or doctoral degrees.

• Eliminates limits on class sizes and daily teaching loads.

• Eliminates more than 4,500 teaching assistant positions.

• Cuts $6 million from The Limited English Proficiency Program for students.

• Retains last year’s $76.5 million cut to textbooks and supplies

• Eliminates approximately 12,500 slots in the state’s Pre-K program.

• Directs the State Board of Education to establish a schedule of new fees for teacher licensure and administrative changes.

• Directs the State Board of Education, in consultation with the UNC Board of Governors, to develop enhanced requirements for continuing teacher licensure and for renewal of teacher licenses.

• Implements new rules for teaching reading in elementary Teacher Education Programs.

• Includes new standards for grading every public K-12 school in the state.

• Eliminates all state funding for the N.C. Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT).

• Establishes new standards for hiring, firing, and putting teachers under short-term contracts, eliminating teacher tenure.

• Would provide need based aid to 6,000 fewer students.

• Establishes a new system of performance funding for the community college system.

• Prohibits by law UNC institutions from assigning students of the opposite sex to the same dormitory room, suite, or campus apartment unless they are married, siblings or parent/child.

• Continues to eliminate the NC Teaching Fellows Program.

• Expands the national Teach for America organization. TFA would establish a program in the Piedmont Triad Region and expand the number of teachers recruited in other areas. Three new programs would be established to keep the students teaching for longer periods of time. Administration of the new N.C. Teacher Corps, established last year after TFA’s model, would be transferred from the State Board of Education to Teach for America, Inc. The Senate budget awards $6 million a year to TFA to carry out the new mission.

• Budgets $1,150,000 to SAS software company for EVAAS, value-added computer assessment system to evaluate teachers.

• Eliminates the back-to-school and Energy Star sales tax holidays.

In the House’s budget, overall spending for K-12 education would fall $79.3 million short of what is needed to continue today’s level of education service. Spending for community colleges would fall $24.8 million short of what is needed to continue today’s level of education services. Spending for the public university system would fall $149.5 million short of what is needed to continue today’s level of education services. More specific proposals include the following:

• Provides $464,100 to Parents for Education Freedom to develop charter schools in rural areas.

• Provides funding and policy language to create the Opportunity Scholarship Act, a $50 million, two-year pilot program that will give taxpayer funds for some low-income students to attend private schools.

• Cuts $24.6 million for teacher assistants in our public schools.

• Gives a one-time $10 million boost to the community college system’s equipment budget.

• Directs the North Carolina School of the Arts to start charging tuition and fees. This is the same as in the Senate budget.

• Raises tuition on out-of-state students on University of North Carolina system campuses.

• Phases out the salary incentive for teachers and school staff with advanced degrees.

• Provides $1.5 million for advanced placement courses, which enable students to develop college-level academic skills in high school.

• Keeps in place the $376.1 million in discretionary cuts for local school districts, which requires school districts to make difficult funding decisions and then send money back to the state.

• Raises tuition by $2.50 per credit hour in community colleges and eliminates the tuition waiver for senior citizens.

• Changes the enrollment funding formula that determines how each community college is funded, triggering a $19.9 million cut in funding.

• Increases fees for continuing education courses by $5.

• Implements new performance measures for community colleges, which will provide

more funding for colleges that increase the percent of students who complete their

degree or certificate.

• Raises tuition for out-of-state residents by 6 percent to 12.3 percent, depending on the


• Diverts some of the least competitive freshmen to attend community colleges for two

years, before attending a University of North Carolina campus.

• Phases out the tuition grant for science and math students.

• Increases need-based aid to both public and private college students.

• Provides $15 billion to encourage more high school graduates, adult learners, and

military veterans to pursue college degrees.

• Budgets $1,150,000 to SAS software company for EVAAS, value-added computer assessment system to evaluate teachers.

(Editor’s Note: Sources for this information include the websites of the NC Department of Public Instruction, the Public School Forum of North Carolina, the North Carolina Justice Center, and the North Carolina General Assembly.

(Burrows is director of teacher education at Brevard College.)


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