The Senate passed its version of the state budget Thursday, sparing some education programs, but the House may want to cut $200 million from education.
The already strapped system has teachers fighting for their jobs.
"We plead with our General Assembly members to fund schools first," State Superintendent June Atkinson said.
However, pleas from Atkinson may not be enough to stop lawmakers from cutting the education budget.
Several education groups say more than 5,000 jobs have been cut this year. It is expected that 7,000 more will lose their jobs next year.
The North Carolina Association of Educators wants specific increases to help schools.
"When we look at a nickel on beer tax, when we look at raising the tobacco tax to the national average, and closing corporate loopholes, we get to about 850 million dollars," NCAE President Sheri Strickland said. "We will be getting close to the $1 billion that it's estimated we'll be short this coming year."
Wake County is making cuts to central services and support staff. New textbooks are not being considered.
Durham and Johnston County Schools also are facing slashed budgets.
In Durham today, teachers are planning to rally to plead with county commissioners not to make any more cuts.