NC schools open year without approved budget

(WAVY/Joel Hilton)

DARE COUNTY, N.C. (WAVY) – This school year in North Carolina is starting with a guessing game for local districts. The legislature hasn’t approved an education budget. While they continue to hammer our the details, local schools are left to wonder how much money they will get.

Photos: NC schools start with no budget in place

“The first day of school is always one of the most exciting days of the year,” Dr. Sue Burgess, Dare County’s Superintendent of Schools said. “This is the 42nd day for me, but I never lose my enthusiasm.”

“Sometimes people have told me we make it look too easy, people don’t understand how bad the circumstances actually are.”

At her schools, the kids have returned and the supply bins have filled, but the funding behind them hasn’t come in yet.

“The state budget is not finished,” Burgess explained. “We are hoping to have one by August 31. We’re on what’s called a continuing resolution. It allows us to pay the bills, but it also puts us in kind of a guessing game.”

While the school year has started, Burgess and superintendents across North Carolina continue to try to plan for a school year that’s already underway.

“We don’t know for sure what the maximum class size (for elementary schools) will be,” she said. “There’s two proposals on the table.”

Burgess said one of the proposals also cuts the number of teacher’s assistants for elementary school. Either way, she has fully staffed her schools.

“We’re on a very conservative spending plan,” she explained. “We have not allocated out all of our instructional supply money. We have not allocated out our textbook money -which is another question mark from the state.”

North Carolina District1 Senator Bill Cook told 10 on Your Side he is in support of a budget that increases teacher salaries while reducing classroom sizes.

You can count on WAVY to follow developments.

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