Q: It would be unfair to this generation of children to cut teaching and support personnel positions at all levels. The regular classroom teacher cannot do it alone. Please do not cut teaching positions.
We are doing everything we can to protect teachers and instructional support positions. The school system has to reduce its budget for three consecutive years. Having another $25 million to $40 million taken from the budgets means some personnel cuts will be necessary.
Q: Why don't you cut foreign language, arts, JROTC, athletics, or some other specific activity?
We are evaluating every program and function for potential budget reductions, and elementary foreign language instruction and athletics are on the list for potential reductions. However, we believe that a balanced curriculum is the key to producing well-rounded students who are ready for the global marketplace. Though state tests are restricted primarily to reading, math and science content, courses and activities outside of those subject areas help teach critical thinking skills that benefit all students. Courses in other areas also keep some students connected to school that may otherwise lose interest. Research shows that these programs improve student academic achievement and graduation rates, and we get federal funds that cover almost half of the cost of the JROTC program.
Q:Have you considered moving to a four-day school schedule? Other states have explored that option to save money on operating costs.
Although some states have moved to four-day weeks, North Carolina law keeps us from doing it. The law, N.C. GS § 115C 84.2 , requires students to go to school for 180 days between Aug. 25 and June 10. When you include holidays and legally required leave days for teachers, you would only be able to schedule about 150 student days using four-day weeks. State law would have to change for us to implement four-day school weeks.
Q: I thought the lottery was supposed to help. Why aren't we using money from that?
The majority of lottery proceeds - 65 percent - goes to prizes, retailers and administration. The remaining 35 percent is divided up into four categories after 5 percent is taken out for a lottery reserve fund:
Under current law, none of those funds can be used to offset budget deficits in other areas. More information is available from the lottery's Web site .
Q: Cut all the central office spending. It's not necessary.
All of our employees play a vital role in our students' education, even if they do not come in direct contact with students. Central office staffing provides services that every business must have - human resources services, payroll services, purchasing services, legal services, communication services, building, grounds, and equipment maintenance services, and several services unique to public schools, such as testing support services, curriculum support services, and student transportation services. Several independent studies have verified that we provide these services very efficiently, even when compared to for-profit businesses. The central office will do its part in these trying times through position reductions,furloughs, and increased efficiencies. Any cuts in personnel will be shared by the central office.