Budget

Fayetteville teacher assistant Grace King works with first graders on sight words.
Reema Khrais

Public school districts throughout the state have fewer teacher assistants in the classrooms this academic year than the previous year, despite assurances from lawmakers that the state budget would not lead to TA reductions.  

Since the 2008-09 recession, state funding for TAs has been reduced by more than 20 percent, leading to thousands of cuts.

In Cumberland County Schools, teacher assistant Grace King begins her day driving a school bus.

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

  

It’s a new fiscal year as of Tuesday, but the legislature has yet to reach an agreement on budget adjustments. 

The House and Senate are still at odds over how to spend money on education and Medicaid. 

Lawmakers are also trying to sort out a coal ash regulation bill, public records rules for charter schools, and higher penalties for prison inmates who get a hold of cell phones.

Photo: The North Carolina General Assembly's Legislative Building
Jorge Valencia

Governor Pat McCrory and leaders in the state House have released a bill that would serve as a scaled-down budget proposal. The move is meant to shake up a slow budget process.

House Budget Appropriations Chair Nelson Dollar explained Senate Bill 3 to a packed conference room earlier today. Dollar said among other things, the measure would give teachers an average five-percent pay raise and state employees a $1,000 raise plus benefits.
 

Teachers and supporters carried heavy cardboard boxes of petition signatures calling lawmakers to raise the teacher pay to the national average.
Reema Khrais

 A group of teachers and supporters dropped off a 61,000-signature petition to lawmakers on Thursday, demanding pay raises that do not result in destructive cuts to public education.

They carried the 14 heavy and large cardboard boxes to the offices of Senate Leader Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, who are currently leading the efforts to raise teacher pay. 

Photo: North Carolina's Old Capitol building
Jorge Valencia

The House of Representatives has been busy working on a budget plan for the state and other large pieces of legislation. Here's a summary of the days news from the State Capitol:

The centerpiece of the spending plan lawmakers are adjusting is pay for public school teachers. A five percent raise is what House Speaker Thom Tillis and his colleagues are suggesting.

That’s almost the mid-point between the two existing budget outlines. The governor has suggested a two-percent raise, and the senate an 11-percent raise.

photo of the North Carolina Senate
Government & Heritage Library, State Library of NC / Flickr

Senate leaders have released their proposed budget for the next fiscal year. They’re looking to spend about 21 billion dollars. Their plan would make substantial changes to the Medicaid program - and would scale back several state agencies, including the Department of Justice. Senate leaders also proposed hefty pay raises for public school teachers. 

For months now, Senate leaders have made it very clear that they want to give teachers pay raises. But they’ve been pretty coy about the details until this week.

School bus
Dave DeWitt

 State lawmakers are considering a bill that would reduce funds for school buses over the next five years. 

The House bill would limit the number of spare buses and their replacement parts, while revising the state inspection process for school bus maintenance.

The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Julia Howard (R-Davie, Forsyth), says the legislation would make school bus operations more efficient, while saving about $19 million in recurring funds over the years.

A picture of a jar of cash marked 'retirement'.
TaxCredits.net, “Retirement” / Flickr

Baby Boomers have less financial security in retirement than their parents did. That's according to a PNC Financial survey.

The company recently surveyed about 1,200 adults across the country and found that half of retirees are worried about running out of money.

Kathy Kraeblen is a senior wealth advisor for PNC in Raleigh. She said previous generation had a combination of a pension, social security and better savings habits, and they didn't live as long. But, Kraeblin said, Boomers can still learn to budget and re-adjust their investments.

A picture of a calculator and a balance sheet.
Kenteegardin / Flickr

Banks, businesses and non-profits are joining forces to help North Carolianians take control of their money.

A report from the finance web site WalletHub found that the Tar Heel State ranks in the bottom-third nationally for financial literacy.

Jan Dillon is the director of the new North Carolina Center for Financial Literacy.  She said financial literacy is knowing the skills to live comfortably within one's means, like budgeting, saving and planning.

Wikimedia

  Yesterday the United States House of Representatives reached a two-year budget agreement with concessions on both sides.

The GOP doesn’t touch entitlements and the Democrats get no new taxes. Host Frank Stasio talks to News Channel 14’s Washington reporter Geoffrey Bennett, and Scott Mooneyham, editor for NC Insider.

Congressman David Price
price.house.gov

Rep. David Price (D-NC) plans to vote for the budget agreement, proposed on Wednesday by representatives Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Patty Murray (D-WA). Though he's not convinced it will be enough in the long run.

"It's hard to imagine sequestration looming over us for ten years," said Price.  "We are going to need to do something bigger and ambitious at some point."

"It does not necessarily mean we're on our way to larger agreements," Price added.

A student holds a sign in support of teachers outside a demonstration at Durham's EK Powe Elementary School.
Dave DeWitt

    

Yesterday, hundreds of North Carolina teachers staged “walk-ins” to protest recent cuts to spending and another year without raises.

But many Republican lawmakers claim the state’s education budget is actually higher than it has ever been. Host Frank Stasio talks with Dave DeWitt, WUNC’s Raleigh Bureau Chief and Education Reporter about the politics behind yesterday’s walk-ins.

unc.edu

On Saturday UNC Chapel Hill inducted its first female chancellor, Carol Folt.

NC Biotech
NC Biotechnology Center

Major cuts have been made to education and training programs at the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.  When the latest state budget was signed, the North Carolina Biotech Center was told it had to cut 27% of its budget.  That meant a cut of $4.6 million.

Norris Tolson is president and CEO of the Biotech Center.  He says an example of programs they had to cut were the Summer Workshops for Educators, that trained 200 teachers a year.

McCrory spoke about his decision to sign HB 589 in a video.
NC Governor's Office

Governor Pat McCrory signed a bill today that requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls, despite opposition from Attorney General Roy Cooper. In addition to requiring a form of photo ID for voters, the bill also shortens early voting by one week. Hours after he signed the bill, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of North Carolina and the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit challenging the bill.

Gov. Pat McCrory
Gurnal Scott

Governor Pat McCrory has a teaching degree. His grandmother was a teacher and his sister taught for 20 years in Wake County. He says frequently that he respects the profession and that teachers are the most important part of the state’s public education system.

The Governor continued that line of praise in his speech at the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce’s Education summit.

“I have a great admiration for teachers and they have a greater challenge than any of us have in this room at this point in time,” he said.

Small businesses in Brightleaf Square shopping center.
Laura Candler

It depends on what you consider good for business. If you head to the North Carolina Department of Commerce’s website, you can see many of the positive rankings North Carolina has received from business media outlets: No. 1 Best Business Climate from Site Selection in 2012, No. 4 Best State for Business by Forbes in 2012, No. 4 America’s Top States for Business by CNBC in 2012.  Most of the organizations doing the ranking look at a similar group of factors, although they each give those factors different weight in their decisions.

General Assembly
Dave DeWitt

Both houses of the State Legislature have passed a final $20.6 billion dollar budget. Much of today's debate in the House and Senate centered on the cuts to public education. Those cuts include eliminating about 2,000 teacher assistant positions and ending teacher tenure.

"You cut a half a billion dollars out of education in this budget in order to make up for the tax giveaway that you did for the wealthy and the out-of-state corporations," said Democrat Martin Nesbitt,  the Senate Minority Leader.

Reverend William Barber led another Moral Mondays protest at the capitol.
Matthew Lenard

For many lawmakers and lobbyists, the culmination of five months of work during this biennial long session came when a final budget was released late Sunday night. More than 500 pages and $20.5 billion, the budget was finalized behind closed doors by two men, both Republicans – Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis.

NC Legislative Building
Dave DeWitt

A busy week at the General Assembly starts today. Republican Leaders in the House and Senate hope to wrap up the session this week. But first they will have to approve a final budget.

That budget was posted online last night (pdf). It contains some provisions that are close to Senate President pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, who have been meeting behind closed doors for several weeks to hammer it out.

GOP Leaders Agree On $20.6 Billion State Budget

Jul 22, 2013
North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

RALEIGH, N.C. - Leaders in the North Carolina House and Senate announced Sunday that they have reached agreement on a $20.6 billion budget that will end teacher tenure and allow taxpayer money to be spent for private school tuition.

Highlights of the budget negotiated by the Republican majority were issued in a news release. The actual appropriations bill was released to the public late Sunday night.

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

Lawmakers in the state House and Senate are busy negotiating over a budget.

It's July 19th and state legislators know the clock is ticking. They're traditionally expected to come out with a budget for North Carolina by July first, when the new fiscal year starts.

North Carolina Legislature passes a tax reform bill.
W Edward Callis III

This week the General Assembly passed a tax reform bill that sets the stage for the state’s budget. The bill, while sweeping, wasn’t as broad as GOP lawmakers originally wanted. A budget agreement is expected to be reached today with details emerging over the weekend.

Students in a Guilford County classroom.
Guilford County Schools

Lawmakers in Raleigh may end tenure for public school teachers. That’s if a provision in the proposed Senate budget remains in the final budget under negotiation.

Tenure for public school teachers isn’t the same as tenure for college professors. For one, it’s much easier to fire public school teachers with tenure or, as it’s described in the education world, to “counsel them out of teaching.”

NC Legislative building
NC General Assembly

State lawmakers say they're nearing consensus on tax reform. Speaker of the House Thom Tillis says the House and the Senate are close to an agreement.

Potential tax code changes could change the level of funding state budget writers would be able to spend. But there's not much time left before the fiscal year ends for lawmakers to agree on a state budget plan.

Tillis says legislators plan to take that up very soon.

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