The North Carolina House and Senate reconciled a number of appropriations disagreements in their budget proposals for the coming fiscal year. The final figures include a reduction of $275 million to Public Education compared to the amount of spending slated in the two-year spending plan approved last year.
The adjustments bring the total Public Education budget for FY 2010-11 to $7.08 billion. This number does not, however, accurately reflect the total spending amount for the coming fiscal year, as the state expects to receive an additional $373 million from the federal stimulus “Education Stabilization Fund.”
The final budget shows evidence of considerable moderation and compromise between the House and Senate’s budget proposals. Notable Senate proposals that did not make it to the budget include a $4.5 million cut in funding for Assistant Principals, and a discontinuation of Dropout Prevention Grants. Similarly, the House sacrificed some of their proposals including scaling back their recommendation to do away with numerous End of Grade Tests. The final budget only included the elimination of the End of Grade Test on Geometry.
Also notable in the FY 2010-11 Certified Budget is the nonrecurring redirection of lottery proceeds from their standard distribution to prevent teachers from being laid off.
Major expansions and reductions include:
- Student Diagnostic and Intervention Initiative: $10 million. $10 million in recurring funding will be appropriated to extend this program an additional year in the 40 schools across the state where it already exists. Funding will also be used to expand the pilot program to new school sites and train teachers to properly implement the program. This is well short of the $39 million requested by Gov. Perdue. Neither House nor Senate budget proposals, however, included any funding for this program – making its inclusion in the final budget a violation of the General Assembly’s own procedural rules that prohibit the insertion into the final budget spending items not included in either chamber’s budget proposal.
- Education Value Added Assessment System (EVAAS): $1 million. This funding will provide $250,000 for EVAAS licenses that had been funded from reversions and $750,000 to purchase EVAAS Teacher Analysis.
- Education Lottery Receipts: $121 million. This will be a nonrecurring departure from the standard direction of lottery proceeds from More at Four, classroom size reductions, public school construction, and financial aid for college students to preventing teacher layoffs.
- More at Four: $30.6 million. This reduction of $30 million will be offset on a one-time basis with federal Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) Emergency Contingency Funds.
- Instructional Supplies: $3.3 million. This reduction will siphon off 3.5 percent of the total allotment for school supplies detailed in the previous year’s budget, leaving $90.9 million remaining for this purpose.
- Mentoring: $9.2 million. Eliminates the state funding for all Local Education Authority mentoring programs on a one-time basis for FY 2010-2011.
- Central Office Administration: $2.4 million. Reduces funding to LEAs for salaries and benefits of central office staff by 2.2 percent, leaving $107.5 million remaining for this purpose. Central office staff is composed of superintendents and assistant superintendents, finance officers, athletic trainers, transportation directors, etc.
- Limited English Proficiency (LEP): $4 million. This reduction represents 5 percent of the funding allotted for this program, leaving $76.5 million remaining for this purpose. LEP programs provide additional assistance to students identified as being limited in their English proficiency to help them further their educational experience and develop English proficiency.
- Transportation: $10 million. This reduction represents 2.4 percent of the annual funding for transportation, which is used for the salaries of transportation personnel as well as the maintenance of yellow buses. $403 million will remain for this purpose.
- School Bus Replacement: $11.9 million. This will impose a one-year moratorium on school bus replacement for FY 2010-11. Funding will remain to support the financing payments for previously purchased school buses. Additionally, $1 million will be set aside for emergency bus replacement purposes.
- Department of Public Instruction (DPI) Operating Reduction: $2 million. This reduction composes 15 percent of the agency’s operating funds.