In order to address the state’s $3 to $3.5 billion budget deficit, Gov. Beverly Perdue has requested all state agencies to submit spending plans that include 5 and 10 percent spending reductions. K-12 public education is the single largest expenditure in the state budget, accounting for about 35 percent of the state’s General Fund spending. The proposed reductions submitted by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) are available here.
While these figures represent an early glimpse into what is sure to be a contentious budget session, the proposed reductions are instructive as much for what was included as for what was not. The following numbers provide a brief overview of the DPI proposal. All figures are rounded.
- $7.7 billion: Fiscal Year 2011-12 appropriation for K-12 public schools. This figure is the base from which reductions are made. A five percent cut represents approximately $384 million in reductions; a 10 percent cut represents a reduction of $768 million.
- 47 Percent: The percentage of the total K-12 public school budget devoted to salaries for classroom teachers ($3.6 billion).
- $52,000: Average North Carolina teacher compensation ($3,597,895,172 – monies budgeted for salaries and benefits/69,540 number of budgeted classroom teachers).
- 4,340 and 5,313 – The number of teaching jobs eliminated based on budget reductions of 5 percent and 10 percent respectively.
- $305 million: Size of the recurring LEA adjustment included in last year’s budget bill. The recurring reduction was negotiated out of this year’s proposal by the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and the Office of State Budget Management (OSBM). This one-time reduction is now back on the books and needs to be accounted for in next year’s budget.
- $2.08 billion: Combined budgeted amounts for Children with Special Needs, Teacher Assistants, Instructional Support, Noninstructional Support, Career and Technical Education and School Building Administration.
- 7,439: Number of instructional support positions currently funded. These positions include: Alternative and Redial Services Support, Career and Technical Education, Mentors, Guidance Counselors, Instructional Coaches, Technology Coordinators, Media Services, Psychologists, Social Workers and Speech Pathologists.
- 742 and 832 – Number of instructional support positions eliminated based on budget reductions of 5 percent and 10 percent respectively.
- 4,308: Number of school building administration positions funded for 2011-12. These positions include: Principals, Assistant Principals and Administrators.
- 235 and 326 – The likely average number of school building administration personnel to be reduced based on budget reductions of 5 percent and 10 percent respectively. Figures reflect average of 10 and 12 month contracts.
- $9.2 million: Amount budgeted for Child and Family Support Teams. Funding is used to provide certified nurses and social workers to work with at-risk students and their families.
- 0: Suggested reduction for Child and Family Support Teams under 5 percent and 10 percent reduction options.
- $12.5 million: Amount budgeted for staff development.
- $180 million: Total dollars state “passes through” to other programs. These programs are administered by non-profits whose boards and leadership are frequently involved in political activity.
- $23.5 million: Suggested combined budget for Teaching Fellows Program ($12.7 million); North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teaching (NCCAT) ($6.1 million) and Teacher Academy ($4.7 million). These three programs receive money from the state but are administered by non-profit entities.
- $81 million: Dollars provided via the General Fund to More at Four pre-school program. More at Four is also heavily subsidized by state lottery funds.
- $576,000 and $1 million: Combined savings for suggested “5 percent and 10 percent” reductions to Teaching Fellows, NCAT and Teacher Academy programs.
The DPI proposal places a large percentage of the reductions and job losses on classroom teachers, whereas the proposed staff reductions to instructional support personnel and school building administration is less on an actual percentage basis.
Can Additional Money For Teachers Be Found?
- $68 million: Combined savings from:
- 50 percent reduction to the General Fund allocation to More at Four (which would reset total More at Four funding to approximately 2005 levels).
- Elimination of Teaching Fellows Program, NCCAT, Teacher Academy, Communities in Schools, Teach for America and Governors’ School, TarHeel Challenge, Teacher Cadet, Jobs Commission, Science Olympiad and Kids Voting
- 1,300: Number of teacher jobs funded from $68 million in savings.