STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION TO MEET WITH LOCAL SUPERINTENDENTS FOR BUDGET DISCUSSION
Superintendents from across the state will meet in Research Triangle Park on April 3 to share with members of the State Board of Education the impact budget cuts have had on their school districts. For the past three years, schools have struggled with fewer teachers, larger class sizes, reduced course offerings and other limited resources as a result of state budget cuts and State Board members are eager to hear how superintendents have dealt with these and other challenges. The meeting will be held from 12:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Sheraton Imperial (4700 Emperor Blvd.) in Research Triangle Park.
"We can no longer expect our school leaders, teachers and students to 'do more with less,'" said State Board of Education Chairman Bill Harrison. "North Carolina schools have been cut to the bone. There are fewer teachers employed this year, even though there are more students. Classrooms are crowded. Parents are cleaning schools because there is no money for janitors. Bus routes have been cut. There are no new textbooks. Advanced Placement and other specialized course offerings have been eliminated. These are some of the stories we have heard from districts but we want the whole picture. That is why we have invited these superintendents to share their experiences. We want to hear about these struggles, the ways in which districts have been innovative and creative in addressing the lack of resources, and the impact of additional cuts."
Per the budget passed by the General Assembly last summer, school districts are facing more than $400 million in cuts to areas including instructional support (guidance, media), non- instructional support (clerical/custodial) and central office for the 2012-13 school year. On top of these cuts to specific programs and services, districts also will be forced to return an additional $74 million on top of the $429 million required last year to meet their "discretionary" reduction. This means that, for the 2012-13 school year, districts will receive and then immediately have to return an additional $500 million. In addition to these cuts in state funding, districts also will lose up to 5,000 more positions that are supported by the $300 million federal Edujobs funding that is set to expire at the end of this school year.
"The goal of this meeting is to gain a better understanding of how these significant cuts in school funding have changed teaching and learning in North Carolina and what we can do now to move forward," Harrison said. "We know these are difficult economic times and we want to work together with the local school leaders and lawmakers to identify the most urgent needs and find the best solutions for supporting our public schools."
Teams from the state's eight education regions are scheduled to make presentations about the local impact of budget cuts at the event. Representatives from education advocacy associations, media and members of the General Assembly are invited to attend. For more information, contact NCDPI Communications at 919.807.3450.
About the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction:
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction provides leadership to 115 local public school districts and 160 charter schools serving over 1.5 million students in kindergarten through high school graduation. The agency is responsible for all aspects of the state's public school system and works under the direction of the North Carolina State Board of Education.
For more information:
NCDPI Communication and Information Division, 919.807.3450.