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In North Carolina, two-year budgets are created in odd years. The process begins early in an odd-numbered year, when the governor, as the director of the state budget, develops a set of spending priorities based on state agency requests and recommendations. This is presented to the General Assembly usually by early March (see reverse for Gov. Cooper’s proposed 2017-19 budget).
Legislators consider this roadmap and present their own budget priorities in the spring. The House and Senate alternate being the first chamber to introduce a budget plan for the biennium. After the first chamber produces and passes a budget proposal, the second chamber may either take that bill up or introduce and pass its own budget bill. That is usually the case.
Also usually, the first chamber does not pass the second chamber’s bill, so the differences between the two are reconciled in a conference committee that consists of both House and Senate members. Finally, each chamber agrees to the conference budget and sends it to the governor.
The General Assembly’s budget is theoretically presented to the governor by the end of the fiscal year on June 30th, but in reality often later in the summer. The governor may sign the budget into law; ignore it, in which case it becomes law after 10 days; or veto it and send it back to the General Assembly. It Governor vetoes the budget bill, the bill is returned to the original chamber where 3/5 of present and voting members can vote to override the veto. If the original house overrides the veto, the bill is sent to the second house where 3/5 of present and voting members must also vote to override the veto before the budget bill can become law.
Once any bill becomes law, the term “bill” is no longer used and the law is given a chapter number and is published under that number in a volume called “Session Laws of North Carolina.”
This year, Governor Cooper presented his budget publicly on March 1, 2017, and to the General Assembly on March 2. (You can view the Education section alone.) This is the Senate’s year to create the first legislative biennium budget, so Senate leaders will likely offer their plans in May. The Senate Appropriations, Base Budget Committee will create the plan.
In the second year of the biennium – in other words, in even years – the governor proposes budget adjustment recommendations. The legislative budget process then continues in much the same manner with both chambers making their own budget plans, but it is usually shorter, hence our General Assembly’s Long and Short Sessions.
Gov. Roy Cooper introduced his budget on March 1, 2017, at Durham Technical Community College. It includes major investments in our public schools: teacher and administrator raises; new pre-K slots; a scholarship program for future teachers; and more.
The budget proposal includes plans to raise North Carolina to a Top 10 educated state by 2025.
- A 5% average teacher pay increase each year for the next 2 years, so that NC teacher pay in 1st in the Southeast in three years and at the national average in 5 years.
- A $20 million fund to support an average 6.5% increase in state-funded pay for principals and assistant principals, including an experience-based step increase.
- Salary increases of 2% or $800 (whichever is greater) for permanent, full-time state employees not on the teacher pay schedule, along with a one-time $500 bonus for those employees.
- Funding for 4,700 new pre-K slots over the next 2 years, with the goal of increasing pre-K participation to 55% by 2025.
- A new program to replace NC Teaching Fellows. NC Best & Brightest would consist of $10,000 per year college loans, which will be forgiven for those who pledge to teach in NC public schools for 4 years, or in low-performing or low-wealth schools for 3 years.
- An annual $150 stipend for teachers to buy supplies at the start of the school year.
- A fund of $10 million for intensive planning and coaching support for teachers, principals, superintendents and central office staff in low-performing schools in order to improve student achievement.
- Creates Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC), a three-year pilot program in five LEAs that aims to improve health and academic outcomes by bringing schools, health agencies, parents and communities together in a State Board of Education-administered program.
- Establishes a position within the Department of Public Instruction’s Office of Charter Schools provide quality oversight of the growing number of charter schools on behalf of the State Board of Education (SBE) and the Charter Schools Advisory Board (CSAB).
- Phases out the Opportunity Scholarship programso that current recipients do not lose their scholarships, but future state investment targets the public schools.
Last updated: May 5, 2017