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New Hanover Co. Superintendent calls proposed budget cuts 'Draconian'

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THE FOLLOWING IS A STATEMENT FROM NEW HANOVER COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT TIM MARKLEY:

WILMINGTON, NC (NEW HANOVER CO. SCHOOLS) -- We are deeply concerned about the proposed education budget from the NC House of Representatives' Education Subcommittee. We understand the current economic situation and we are prepared to deal with severe budget cuts. However, the Draconian level of cuts proposed by the House will do irreparable harm to the students in North Carolina's public education programs and New Hanover County Schools will not be able to meet the goals we have established for our school system. All districts throughout the state will face a similar predicament.

We were prepared to make cuts up to $15 million, which is $2 million more than the Governor’s proposed budget of $13 million. Now we are being asked to cut $20.5 million, an additional $5 million in cuts – more than our worst-case scenarios.

When you add in the potential loss of revenues from the Red-light Cameras Program, it is more imperative than ever that we contact our local legislators and County Commissioners to discuss how these budget cuts will harm our students.

Specifically, on the statewide level, the current budget proposed by the House means the loss of:
(Source: NCEA)
* 7,000 teacher jobs – local discretionary cuts $346.9 million
* 8,000 teacher assistants - $258.6 million
* At-risk student services - $30.1 million (cuts 602 teacher jobs)
* Academically/Intellectually Gifted - (cuts 168 teacher jobs)
* Central Office Administration - $10.7 million (cuts 150 jobs)
* Assistant principals – 329 jobs - $24.7 million reduction
* Limited English Proficiency – 150 teacher jobs - $7.5 million reduction
* Transportation – 1,035 bus drivers $20.7 million reduction

For NHCS, there would be cuts in all of the above areas, in addition to:
* Special Education
* More@Four and the Pre-K program
* Staff development
* Technology
* Classroom supplies
* Textbooks

I urge all parents and concerned supporters of public education to contact your state legislators.

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