ONLY ON 3: House budget cuts could mean UNCW tuition hike
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Public schools and higher education in the Cape Fear Region are watching the state budget battle closely. While public schools fair better under the House's budget than what's being discussed in the Senate, the same can't be said for schools like UNCW.

Public schools are pleased that it looks like they can preserve teaching positions, but UNCW is unsure how these proposed cuts would effect their students. UNCW's Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs Charles Maimone said the school can handle about a two-percent cut from the state before making cuts in the classroom. The House's budget slashes UNCW's money by seven percent, leaving a large gap to fill before the fall semester starts. In December, the university approved a two-percent increase in tuition, but if the House plan becomes the state's final budget, that tuition increase might go up even more.

"Our hope is not to pass on these cuts to our students," Maimone said. "To the greatest degree possible that's what we'll try to do, but there is a point, and there really is a point, where we really start to compromise the integrity of their education, and we can't do that."

New Hanover County School Board Chair Ed Higgins said New Hanover County Schools have been preparing for a worst case scenario, but the House's budget is better than they had planned for. He also says the county is not planning any teacher layoffs right now. Instead, some outgoing teachers would not be replaced.

Of course, all of these budget discussions will continue without any hard numbers until the Senate and House compromise and send the governor a final budget.

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The House has approved its version of the budget. Now the House and SEnate working committee will attempt to come to a compromise; then they'll have to sell it to her Highness and get her signature.

I wonder if her blackmail item on this year's budget will be money for palm pilots?

The House version "raids" the Education Lottery fund to the tune of $127,000,000 to maintain 1600 teaching positions. That works out to $79,375 per teacher. Not bad for a 9 month job.

It also fails to address the underfunded health care benefits for state retirees to the tune of $2,000,000,000.

And it really does not take into account the end of Federal stimulus dollars at year end 2010.

It's unfortunate the Senate and House are not required to use the same fiscal rationale those of us who run personal households and budgets have to use.

Meanwhile, the Department of Revenue still has 312,000 tax returns to process with estimated refunds of $222,000,000.

Too bad the Government can not be shut down until the current year obligations are satisfied.

Well, the chopper the Governor enjoys so much is in Brunswick County getting a facelift. Maybe some of the Brunswick County residents, who are still due refunds, can get a judge to allow a lien on the chopper and keep it in the County until the State satisfies its obligations.

Now there's a thought. And maybe it would get her attention if she could not jump on the chopper but had to navigate the Raleigh loops and I-40 when she wants to go someplace.

There is a fiscal armageddon coming right at the tax payers; and the Legislature and Governor refuse to face that reality.

Would that not be like the 4th hike in a year...this is crazy. Sounds like to me that they need to rethink their budget and cut the middle man out. Make administration work...too many of them are lounging around doing nothing all day...give me a break. Greedy suckers.