Staff walked through the Houses Budget this morning with the Senate Education Appropriation members. Here is the budget projections and comparisons between the Governors budget, the House and the Senate.
They started with K-12 Education and several members raised concern that the proposed budget numbers were going back to 2007 levels and what that was going to look like and mean, especially if enrollment in up. Staff said they would come back tomorrow for the 8:30 meeting with charts and more information on that issue.
Sen. Dannelly asked about cuts made to supplies and textbooks but Sen. Tillman assured him that these cuts were made in order to protect teacher positions.
Sen. Garrou voiced concern with cutting technology funds and if this would be a setback to NC students in the long run- without that exposure. As cuts are made to teachers, Garrou noted that the younger teachers, who tend to be technology savvy would probably be the first to go- so its even more important that we not cut technology funds.
The budget for Community Colleges was quickly touched on but since the Community Colleges have been very helpful and forthright about the cuts they can take and have suggested there is little disagreement concerning this area.
Moving on to the UNC system Sen. Dannelly reiterated previous worry about going back to budget numbers from 2007 when enrollment is up. Sen. Tillman tried to mitigate those fears by assuring the Senator that they would do everything in their power to maintain teaching positions but ultimately the Senate can not create more money and they will have to deal with what the have. Tillman said he did not want to play politics but this problem was inherited and they have to play the hand they have been dealt.
Sen. Dannelly suggested raising taxes to create more money.
Sen. Apodaca quickly jumped into the discussion that yes, it was going to be hard with funding being cut, especially in scholarships and need-based but anyone who truly wants a college education will still be able to achieve that dream. Apodaca argued that our colleges are not at capacity and we will still be able to offer a basic education. Apodaca pointed out that he did not receive scholarships when he went to school but worked his way through providing the example that it is possible to attend college without supplemental state funds. Apodaca closed with raising taxes is not an option.
The Committee is expected to go through the special provision section tomorrow.