Education Budget Breakdown

This year’s budget crunch brought varying proposals from the Governor, State Senate, and State House, each differing as to where and how deep the axe should fall on state bureaucracy. This Civitas budget breakdown evaluates the different cuts to the Education budget put forth by each branch of state government.

As education funding accounts for over half of North Carolina’s expenditures, they present a necessary avenue to cut back and reconcile an over $2 billion budget deficit. However, each branch of government tailored the Education budget to fit their specific priorities – whether they reside in the UNC System, K-12 Education, or increased taxation.

Governor Perdue opted to extend what was a temporary sales tax in order to account for a large portion of her budget, her tax hike costing tax payers an estimated $826 million. While increasing taxation during a recession, the extra revenue permitted Perdue to minimize cuts for education.

Promises made by Republicans in the House and Senate included no new taxes, which while easing the burden on North Carolinians by letting the temporarily elevated sales tax decline, forced difficult decisions to be made in budget cuts. Without the extended sales tax, House and Senate budget cuts in education nearly doubled those proposed by Governor Perdue. The House went to great lengths to ensure that budget cuts were highly prioritized to protect the classroom. The Senate budget is still in the negotiation phase, with details of specific cuts yet to emerge.

The charts display cuts relative to the amount of the FY11-12 Continuation Budget, which attempts to project the costs of continuing current levels of service adjusted for enrollment and inflation growth.

Overall Education Funding Cuts

Total Education Budget Plans

Public Schools

Public School Budget Cuts

The N.C. House is at loggerheads with the Governor when it comes to cuts to education. While the House moved to fully fund teaching positions for the biennium budget, Teacher’s Assistants for 2nd and 3rd grades will be eliminated, a move which has prompted criticism from the governor.

Gov. Perdue’s budget plan would cut Public Schools by over $350 million. The Senate ($800 million) and House ($694 million) intend deeper cuts to Public Education.

Additionally, divergent viewpoints exist between the two legislative chambers on Public School cuts. The House (which has generally favored Public Education) and the Senate (preferential towards the UNC System) may find disagreements on which department under the education budget should shoulder the brunt of budget cuts. The Senate Target and the House Budget for Public Education differ by more than $100 million.

Community Colleges

Community College Budget Cuts

The Governor’s recommended budget cuts evenly distributed downsizing between the Community College and UNC Systems, hovering at nearly 8 percent, exceeding $85 million in cuts.

The House and Senate’s proposals cuts differ on Community Colleges, but within a margin of around $20 million. House cuts amount to over $110 million, with the Senate weighing in at a somewhat deeper $132 million.

UNC System

UNC Budget Cuts

For the UNC System, the Governor reserved her most stringent rate of cuts, approaching $229 million. These cuts reached nearly 8 percent of the UNC System budget.

The House proposed a cut of around $447 million, far deeper than the aims of the Senate. The N.C. Senate’s target for cuts totals $360 million.

This article was posted in Budget & Taxes, Education by Andrew Henson on May 17, 2011 at 4:02 PM.

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Comments on this article

  • 1

    C. Daniel McClean
    C. Daniel McClean May 18, 2011 at 9:10

    In my not so humble opinion, Governor Perdue had better get over her cranial-rectal inversion and realize that revenue is not the problem. Spending is the problem. While politicians maintain the mistaken idea that the way to solve a problem is to keep throwing money at it. It hasn’t raised the standing of our schools against the national average. The state needs to spend it’s money more wisely and quit surrendering to cerebrial flatulance.

  • 2

    Glenn Allen
    Glenn Allen May 18, 2011 at 16:01

    Governor Perdue needs to realize the State is out of money and raising taxes will make the recession worse. Wheelbarrows of money for public education has not made it better; something else should be tried. Vouchers, anyone?

  • 3

    Garry Terry
    Garry Terry May 18, 2011 at 22:15

    If throwing tons of money at education was working, why is the country in such a mess? Wouldn’t some of the intelligent folks that went through that education system already have some ideas for creating jobs and growing the economy?
    I recently went to the Air & Space museum in DC…..the thing I noticed more than the fantastic technology that US Citizens had created was the huge numbers of foreigners marveling at our creative technical edge………well, the one that we used to have.
    So, what’s the difference between the better educated kids of the new millenia & the fifties? You know…the ones that built a rocket that carried man to the moon & back.
    What’s the difference?
    They’re quick to talk about green jobs, solar panels & windmills in school.
    But what about setting a national goal of going to the moon again & then to Mars.
    We’re not dreaming big enough.
    Money alone can’t educate a child, but big ideas can give the child a reason to learn.

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