The North Carolina budget for the upcoming year is looming like a menacing storm cloud approaching on the horizon.
A funding hole of between $3 billion and $4 billion is anticipated.
Short of a rapid (and unexpected) economic turnaround that pumps more tax dollars into state coffers, it’s a hole that will have to be closed.
It’s how that hole will be closed, and the very nature of the state budget, that worries educators.
It ought to worry all of us.
For decades, North Carolina has made a quality public education system a priority, and indeed it’s been the foundation of the state’s economic policy as well. An educated citizenry is an educated work force, the coin of the realm for employers.
Education makes up the bulk of the state’s budget. K-12 funding alone is the single biggest chunk of the budget, representing 35 percent of spending.