Proposed Senate budget would eliminate specific funding for schools

Funding for education

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The proposed Senate budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year calls for an increase on spending for public education by $1.3 billion over the next two years.

This includes a 3.5 percent increase in teacher salaries, with the allocating of $300 for each teacher for supplies.

What it doesn’t include is supplemental funding for Early College High Schools across the state. In Pender County, this funding goes towards books, tuition, and some staffing also.

“The biggest impact I see honestly is the fact that we’re going to have to figure out a way to pay for textbooks and for fees, so our students can still be successful," said Kevin Taylor, Principal of the Pender Early College High School. "That’s the two biggest areas I see we’ll struggle with.”

Only three years ago, funding for these schools was $300-thousand. Now, in 2019, that number has dropped almost half to $180-thousand. Taylor says, he’s not surprised that this was the next step, saying there is nobody in [the government’s] ear to keep funding up.

For students, they recognize the affect this could have on enrollment number at their school.

“A lot of the reason kids come here is so they get the opportunity to go to college and a lot of our students are first generation college students," said Taylor Barnhil, a student at PECHS. "They couldn’t really have the opportunity to graduate from college without this kind of environment.”

The next step for the General Assembly is to put a committee together. Members from both the House and Senate will meet to discuss an agreement on what they feel the new fiscal budget should be and what the money should be spent on.

This still leaves hope for Early Colleges statewide, to keep receiving funding.

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