January 9, 2013 marked the beginning of the 2013 legislative session for the North Carolina General Assembly. During this long session, lawmakers will craft a state budget that will support public schools, as well as many other government functions, for the next two years.
The decisions legislators will make during the coming months will be critical to the future of our students and the state, particularly since public schools currently face the following budget challenges:
- This will be the fifth consecutive year public schools have endured significant funding reductions. Many local superintendents have shared that schools in their districts have already been "cut to the bone." For years, many schools in North Carolina have operated with fewer teachers and staff, limited resources such as textbooks and technology, less training for teachers, and with facilities in need of update and repair. One superintendent has described the situation as a rubber band that has been stretched to its breaking point.
- Local superintendents will have to meet a $376 million "discretionary reduction" in 2013-14. This cut represents money that districts will receive and then have to return to the state. This reduction is on top of more cuts that could be made to specific program areas such as transportation, professional development and textbooks.
- This year's discretionary reduction of $359 million cost North Carolina 4,300 classroom teachers, 444 Career and Technical Education teachers and millions of dollars in support programs. These reductions to staff and educator support have a direct impact on the classroom.
Given these and many other significant issues, it's essential for educators, parents and community members to stay current on the latest budget news from Raleigh. This website will house all things related to the Public Schools' budget. Please visit often as materials will be added periodically.
Graduating students college and career ready is critical to protecting and securing North Carolina's economic future. Public schools can produce a workforce to sustain the state, but first we need the state to sustain our public schools.
Stay informed. Stay involved. It's critical that we invest in the future and fund schools first.