A commission charged with making changes to the state's Common Core academic standards is facing a very elemental question: how will it get the money it needs to complete its work?
Legislators passed a bill this summer to create a commission to review and recommend changes to the Math and English academic standards for public school students.
In the legislation, lawmakers outlined that the commission should have money to hire staff and conduct research, but did not make clear how much money the commission will receive and where it will come from.
Jerry Tillman, one of the bill’s primary sponsors, said he expected money to come from the Department of Administration. The original version of the bill called for a budget of $250,000, which was taken out during final negotiations between the Senate and House.
“They can’t do their work, and we need to find this money ASAP,” said Tillman.
Tillman said he is looking to other sources and will be meeting with top leaders in the next couple of weeks to come up with the money before the General Assembly reconvenes in January.
Many commission members expressed frustration over the lack of money at meeting on Monday.
“The lack of funding sort of communicates – to me – that there are very low expectations from this commission. If we can’t get some funding, most of the changes we’ll be recommending will be anecdotal,” said Tammy Covil, a New Hanover County school board member.
Covil and other members said they need the money to invite Math and English experts, conduct surveys, and hire staff. After spending the last couple of months reviewing the standards with the help of the Department of Public Instruction, they said the next step is to hear directly from teachers, families and content experts.
“We have been rattling cages,” said the commission’s co-chair Andre Peek. “Until we know where the dollars are coming from and where those dollars are coming from, it’s hard to finalize any plans.”