The North Carolina House of Representatives’ FY2010-11 budgetary adjustments for Public Education reduce the originally budgeted allotment by $283 million. This adjustments proposal comes much closer to the Governor’s recommended $314 million expenditure reduction than the Senate’s proposed reductions of $220 million.
Although the House’s plan appears to allocate $7.07 billion toward public education, actual spending would total $7.44 billion. That’s because of $373 million in federal “Education Stabilization Funds” coming courtesy of the federal stimulus bill. The federal funds are currently counted as a “cut” in the state budget, but a more accurate reflection of expenditures on North Carolina’s K-12 education program should include the federal dollars.
A major difference between the House’s adjustments versus the Governor’s proposal includes an agreement with the Senate to reject the Governor’s $135 million Local Education Agency (LEA) flexibility reduction. Meanwhile, the House added an amendment to eliminate funding for many state-administered tests including U.S, history, geometry, and Civics and Economics in order to provide added funds for classroom supplies.
Major expansions and reductions include:
- Textbooks: $5 million. Provides $5 million in nonrecurring funds for an emergency contingency reserve for buying textbooks.
- Diversity in Public Schools Commission: $26,000. Funds a Join Legislative Study Commission on Diversity in Public Schools to study the benefits of diversity in public schools, evaluate practices for maintaining diversity in other states and school systems, and examine “the impact of diversity on the achievement gap.”
- HMCUC Funds Transfer: $290,000. Some of the funds for the Historically Minority Colleges and Universities Consortium Closing the Achievement Gap project in the UNC system would be transferred to the Department of Public Instruction to expand funding of the Dropout Prevention Grant Initiative.
- Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS): $1 million. $250,000 of this funding will go to funding for EVAAS licenses, the remainder will be used to purchase EVAAS Teacher Analysis.
- Lottery Receipts: $126.6 million. The House proposes to raid $126 million in lottery receipts to retain a reported 1,600 teacher positions, exceeding the Senate’s proposal by $90 million. The proposal represents a deviation from the normal allocation of lottery receipts that state government authorities have stated will only last one year.
- Education Stabilization Fund: $373 million. $373 million is to be taken off the state’s books for FY 2010-11 due to that same amount being allocated to the state by the federal government via the “Education Stabilization Fund,” a part of the federal stimulus act.
- More at Four: $39 million. This proposal reduces recurring funding for More at Four by 3.7%, taken from its appropriations of $165.5 million, which is a combination of General Fund and Lottery proceeds.
- Elimination of Certain State Tests: $2.7 million. House budget eliminates funding used for providing the following state-administered tests: Civics and Economics, Geometry, Physical Science, and U.S. History.
- Instructional Supplies: $3.3 million. This will reduce funding for Instructional Supplies by 3.5%, leaving $90.9 million remaining for school supplies. The previous draft of the House budget reduced this item by $6 million, but the savings from eliminating certain state tests mitigated this reduction.
- Central Office Administration: $2.4 million. Reduces allotment to LEAs for salaries of central office staff by 2.2%.
- Mentoring: $9.2 million. House recommends Senate’s proposal of a 1-year moratorium on LEA mentoring programs.
- Transportation: $10 million. Reduces funding that supports transportation personnel as well as school bus maintenance by 2.4%, leaving $403 million remaining in the transportation budget.
- School Bus Replacement: $11.9 million. The House recommends the Senate and Governor’s proposal to place a one year moratorium on school bus replacement. $1 million will be reserved for emergency school bus replacements.
- Limited English Proficiency: $4 million. A 5% reduction of funding for the Limited English Proficiency program, leaving $76.5 million available.
- Connectivity: $4 million. Reduces funding for the School Connectivity Initiative (SCI), a nascent program designed to encourage global awareness and developing 21st century skill sets through technology. These recurring cuts amount to 4.5% of the program’s current budget, leaving $21 million in annual appropriations.