The NC Senate released its $22.2 billion budget plan just before midnight on Tuesday, May 31. Chamber leaders were, as planned, able to pass the 187-page bill that features faster tax cuts than the House plan just over 48 hours later, at 12:05 Friday, June 3. Read the full measure here and the Appropriations Committee report on it here.
The Senate budget proposal includes teacher raises, which the News & Observer compared to the House plan:
HOW THE TEACHER PAY PLANS COMPARE
Starting salary: Remains at $35,000 in both the House and Senate plans
Five years of experience: 4.1 percent raise in House plan; 4.8 percent raise in Senate plan
10 years of experience: 5 percent raise in House plan; 6.25 percent raise in Senate plan
15 years of experience: 3.4 percent raise in House plan; 7.5 percent raise in Senate plan
20 years of experience: 3.2 percent raise in House plan; 3.8 percent raise in Senate plan
25 years of experience: 2 percent raise in House plan; no raise in Senate plan
The Senate budget provides $27.1 million to reduce second grade class size to 1:16 ratio, which is just one fewer student per classroom. At the same time, the upper chamber followed the House’s lead in making lottery money the sole source of non-instructional support funds. Senate budget writers also put almost double the money in the state’s rainy day fund, just about $600 million, while cutting DPI’s budget by $2.2 million and LEA central office funding by $5 million. In addition – or subtraction, really – the budget eliminates $10 million for school connectivity and $4.8 million for at-risk students. The Senate slightly increased textbook funding (to $9.25 million) but uses one-time, rather than recurring, funds to do so. All told, funding for K-12 public education would remain 8% below pre-Recession levels, adjusted for inflation.
Oddly, the Senate budget incorporates SB862’s “forward funding” for the voucher program into the budget itself. It creates the proposed reserve and funds it based on the program’s expansion of 2,000 additional students per year. NC Policy Watch calculates that would entail giving 112,892 vouchers out annually in just ten years. The reserve provision will cost $170 million more than current voucher funding plans would in just the next 5 years.