State budget cuts will hit schools hard

Reported by Claire Simms - bio|email
Posted by Kristy Ondo - email

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WECT) - State lawmakers approved a $19 billion budget Wednesday evening, that will result in higher taxes and more cuts.

The General Assembly approved the budget more than a month after the fiscal year began.

Sales taxes, alcohol taxes, and school tuition will all increase, while funding for health, economic development and education will all go down.

Schools like Brunswick Community College will be feeling the pinch this fall.

"When you talk about a shortfall of something around $900,000, that's a tremendous impact," said Brunswick Community College Vice President of Academic Services, Sharon Thompson.

According to Thompson, enrollment at BCC has climbed 35 percent over the past few years, because so many people are choosing to go back to school.

Now it appears state funding will not keep up, forcing the college to survive with what it already has.

In the new budget, the Board of Governors' funding was slashed by $50 million. UNC-Wilmington alone has more than $2 million missing from its budget.  So now, students will have to pay more in tuition beginning in the 2010-2011 school year.

"Things are already tough with having an apartment and paying for all your other expenses while you're at school, so it'll make things really tight, which they already were tight," said UNC-Charlotte student Ben Dewitt.

Public school systems will also have to tighten their belts. The Department of Public Instruction will get $97 million less this year.

Governor Perdue said she will sign the budget bill, but reluctantly, saying that the budget "falls areas that are critical" to the state's future.

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