Budget Presents Mixed Outcomes
The following offers highlights of the recent legislative sessions. Precollegiate enrollment figures are based on fall 2004 data reported by state officials for public elementary and secondary schools. The figures for precollegiate education spending do not include federal flow-through funds, unless noted.
North Carolina’s economically disadvantaged school districts will receive some $22 million in additional funding from the state’s $6.6 billion education budget for fiscal 2006, which Gov. Michael F. Easley signed into law last month.
That overall increase for K-12 schools will help districts keep up with increasing enrollments. The total K-12 budget reflects an increase of about 8 percent over the amount allotted for K-12 education in fiscal 2005.
Gov. Easley, a Democrat, also received authority to study teacher salaries and to allocate as much as $85 million to increase and expand salaries, bonuses, and recruitment-and-retention incentives for teachers.
The appropriation, part of a $17.2 billion overall state budget, also includes $8.5 million in first-time spending for school community-outreach programs and $5 million to expand college-based high school programs.
But districts may have to cut teaching and administrative positions for a third straight year because of a provision in the budget that they return $44 million in state aid to the state as a money-saving move.
Meanwhile, an expected $100 million windfall from a recent state supreme court decision that would hand over the revenue from fines and forfeitures collected by state agencies to schools has been earmarked for current expenses instead of supplementing the budget.
Other reductions include more than $5 million for some assistant-principal positions, $7 million for replacing school buses, and $500,000 in central-office administration at the state education department.
Vol. 25, Issue 11, Page 25