House Bill 200, otherwise known as the State Budget Act, passed with a vote of 72 to 47 in the House and will now go to the Senate. If HB 200 stays in its current form, it will hurt North Carolina’s K-12 schools, public community colleges and universities, as well as schoolteachers and professors. Being a need-based college student who goes to Western Carolina University, I have seen in the past year how much the university has had to cut back on professors and whole classes. I can’t imagine what will happen when these bigger cuts hit.
Community colleges will be hit the hardest, with a 50 percent reduction of need-based scholarships. As a former student of A-B Tech, I would not have been able to afford college without this important financial assistance. Proponents of the bill say that it doesn’t put teachers’ jobs in jeopardy, but aims to eliminate non-classroom and assistant teacher positions from second and third grade.
Those assistant teachers provide more one-on-one instruction for our elementary school students. As many of you know, elementary school is when young children learn some of the most important cognitive skills.
I am in total agreement that the government should practice fiscal responsibility, but trimming money from the education sector in this way is totally irresponsible. The cuts will reduce 8.8 percent from the overall K-12 budget, 11 percent from the community colleges and 15 percent from our universities. The best way to fight against these cuts in education is to call and write your state legislators and tell them not to cut the education budget.
— Matthew Del Corral