New Hanover County's Wrightsboro Elementary School celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary Friday, welcoming parents, alums and Governor Bev Perdue, as schools across the state try to cope with funding cuts present and future. "We are certainly making very careful decisions about how we spend money. We always have, but even more now," said Wrightsboro Elementary Principal Boni Hall. So how did we get here? Perdue said there is no easy solution to North Carolina’s multi-billion-dollar budget crisis, and effects will be felt across the board, including education. But many of you have called and written us asking what about that billion dollars of lottery money we keep hearing about? Perdue said state law dictates how about half of it is spent. But that still leaves a state education budget of about $12 billion to pay for. "A half of a billion out of $12 billion is not any way at all capable of filling the hole," said Perdue. That means school districts will likely face even bigger cuts next school year than they've already made this year, including a loss of thousands of jobs and funding for various programs. Perdue said she is doing all she can to protect programs for the state's youngest students to help build their future. But she is a governor who ran for office touting her personal and political record on education and an endorsement from teachers. "Let me tell you what. I will die being the education leader or the education governor. I believe that I am doing as good a job as anybody in America can do, and I would dare anybody to come and challenge me on it," said Governor Perdue. School districts and other state agencies still do not know what cuts they will face next year. The State House continues to work on its version of the budget, which varies significantly from Perdue's proposed budget and the Senate's version. The House version calls for 12 percent cuts for education.
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