Educators decry 'Depression era' cuts

RALEIGH A plan in the House of Representatives would slash $1.8 billion from schools. The cuts proposed by committee budget writers would include larger class sizes, layoffs, furloughs and tuition increases at state universities.

The Legislature is struggling to find $4.5 billion in savings overall to balance the state budget.

But a group of educators says schools are not the place to cut - and that taking from education has severe long term consequences.

"Legislators are proposing depression-era level cuts to public education," said North Carolina Association of Educators President Sheri Strickland. "The long-term effect of such drastic cuts to K-12 education and the negative impact on children cannot be overstated. That's why we are coming together as a unified voice to say 'don't balance the budget on the backs of students, educators and schools.'"

The NCAE is teaming up with the North Carolina PTA, The North Carolina Association of School Administrators (NCASA), the North Carolina School Boards Association (NCSBA), and the North Carolina Public School Forum to lobby against the cuts.

The group says it has public opinion on its side.

"Parents are not supportive of deep, harmful cuts to our public schools," said Debra Horton, NC PTA president. "We want our children to have opportunity and access to a high quality system of public education. Cutting more than a billion dollars in funding to public schools across the state puts the well-being of every community at risk."

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