NC Senate Goes After Easy Money - Stealing Pennies from Children

Times are tough. Balancing a budget in such a harsh economic climate means making cuts in just about every area, right? Not if you're in charge of the budget in North Carolina. According to the N&O, Tough budget cuts go unmade.

It appears that the governor and her minions colleagues in the NC Senate are satisfied with raiding pools of cash intended for specific purposes and slicing the budget for certain citizens who lack a powerful lobby - four year old children.

According to another N&O article, More at Four may face 'disaster.' We've discussed previously how important early access to quality organized education programs is to the continued success of children - especially those already at risk of being failed by the current education system. This is unacceptable. It's different if every program is facing tough cuts, but to only go after the programs that benefit children is appalling.

Shame on Governor Perdue and the NC Senate for writing a budget that hurts those least able to speak up for themselves.

Oh...and kids...if you happen to have a jar of pennies sitting around your room, you might want to hide it. Who knows which pool of money the governor will raid next.

Edited to reflect the Senate is stealing from children. Now we'll just have to see if Governor Perdue will let them get away with it.

Comments

What a shame

Hopefully someone will come on and say the N&O is wrong.

Trying something new. I used only the headlines of the N&O articles linking back to them. Please go read them for a full picture of what is going on. I think the headlines were enough for this little blurb/mini rant. What do you think?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

I like that treatment. Simple and clear.

As long as they have decent headlines.

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The budget situation is way more f*cked up than even these articles suggest. The raids are one thing, but the Imperial Senate hasn't even bothered to show a revenue plan.

The way things are going, they should just kill the legislature altogether and let Tony Rand and Marc Basnight decree how things are going to be.

Not minions

The Legislature has attacked the Governor for her budget multiple times. The day the Senate put their budget out the Governor's press secretary criticized the Senate.

In fact, the Governor's budget proposal only reduced the More at Four budget by 1.2 million dollars. There is a pretty big difference between 40 million and 1 million. So lets blame the people at fault, Linda Garrou, Tony Rand and Marc Basnight.

"Keep the Faith"

OK....I changed it.

The N&O actually wasn't clear on the More at Four cuts in the first article cited. My mistake.

However, if Perdue really doesn't like the budget we know what she can do, right?



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Blue South is right - it's the Senate budget that's a mess.

I received an email from a former colleague that explains the issues fairly well. Rather than re-writing it, I'm going to quote it.

The proposal is bad for young children and you need to let your legislators know why. Both Senators and House members need to hear from you this weekend.

1. The fact is that the Senate cut $100 million dollars in our state investments to young children. That represents a 25% cut in state funding...all on the backs of children from birth to five. That is unfair and unreasonable, given the much lower cuts being born by the K-12 and Higher Education systems.

2. The Senate cut $15 million from Smart Start, further stressing the infrastructure that supports families and young children.

3. The Senate eviscerated the More At Four program, by taking out $77 million dollars of state funding and backfilling with federal stimulus dollars that are intended to help families stay employed. The components of the program are missing, the rates are to be lowered and the families that now receive the program may now longer be eligible.

4. The Senate is leaving families with infants and toddlers with no child care support. Instead they have used all the federal stimulus funding in one year on a newly created, un-proven program for four year olds.

But wait - there's more!

Moves and changes the More At Four Program

Moves the program to Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Child Development, Regulatory Services Section from Office of School Readiness

Reduces the program by $40 million (reduction taken and credited in the Education Program)

Requires the Office of School Readiness & DCD to reduce the amount paid per slot in order to minimize the number of slots eliminated as a result of the $40 million reduction. However, there will be a reduction of slots and a reduction in the amount paid per slot. DCD & OES will come up with a plan to implement the reduction; we do not have an estimate of slots available.

The program’s budget will be $130.6 million; $46 million in state and federal recovery funds and $84.6 million in Education Lottery funds for a high quality four year old classroom. There is a one-time non-recurring expenditure of federal recovery funds for FY2009-10 ($34 million in the DHHS budget).

Transitions the current M@4 program into a Plus Program that will be no less stringent in quality than the current M@4 program (teacher ratios will remain the same, teacher qualifications will be the same, curriculum is set, etc)

The Plus Program designation will be an add-on to the current 5 star licensure system. A child care center with a high quality 4 year old classroom will have the designation of a Plus program in addition to its star rating (ie. A 4 star center with the high quality classroom will become a 4+ star center).

The program’s funding will be administered within the subsidy guidelines and eligibility for Plus program will be the same as the current child care subsidy program which will be fully implemented in 2010-11.

This was provided by NCPC/Smart Start, and can be used for advocacy purposes.

Governor's School Cuts

The Governor's School program, created by Terry Sanford in 1963, is also taking a hard hit in the budget too. The alumni have rallied to blunt some of it, but they are still concerned about what is taking place.

Governor's School was created to provide opportunities for gifted students across the state to get together and explore modern ideas in a variety of subject areas. Since 1963, the program has expanded to reach 800 students a year for 6 weeks during the summer at 2 campuses... the original one at Old Salem (GS West) and Meredith College (GS East, formerly located at St. Andrews). The program reaches both academic and artistic students and is an incredible experience, especially for students in communities which do not offer programs for gifted students.

The current proposed cuts would reduce the number of students to 600 for the Summer of 2010 with a "promise" to restore missing funding. There is no word if this would reduce the number of campuses down to 1 or if they could maintain 2. They have removed $400,000 from the budget. While the alumni understand that everyone will take a hit, it is hoped that these students will not be punished any more because the leaders are not willing to make tough choices.

The reduction in services to 4 year olds makes no sense either, since that is a good long term investment in our schools and state.

GS

I applaud you for standing up for your program, but this seems pretty reasonable to me. Most of what I know about Governor's School is positive. Hope it works out in the long run.

Tough choices in budget

The leaders are making tough choices...you just don't like the choice they made! So let me guess, don't cut your special program but cut somebody else's....like NC Science and Math, More at Four etc....

Or raise revenue?

That's a tough choice too. One that turns powerful politicians into jello.

Or maybe pick more than just one or two

programs, Elle. From what I read, there were very few tough choices made.



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Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.