McCrory unveils new budget proposal

McCrory unveils new budget proposal (Reporter: Amanda Brannon)

GREENVILLE, PITT COUNTY - Governor Pat McCrory releases his first two-year spending plan that focuses on education and the economy.

"We do not want to put additional debt on these students in which they have a very difficult time getting out of that debt once and even if they get a job," McCrory said.

The Governor doesn't plan to increase tuition for in-state university students. However, out-of-state students aren't so lucky.

Students on ECU's campus had mixed reactions to the news.

"Um, it sounds great. That's wonderful like I would be really upset if they raised tuition when we go here," Iyesha Young said.

"That's kinda a bummer. I already pay a lot as it is. I might have to go home to a school in my state and that's something I don't want to do," Alan Skirnick, an out-of-state sophomore from Maryland said.

Community Colleges will also see tuition increases. According to Susan Nobles, Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Pitt Community College, that means an increase of thirty-two dollars extra per year for in-state students and one-hundred twenty-eight dollars for out-of-state students.

"Obviously, we would hope that there wouldn't be any tuition increase because it is difficult for our students," Nobles said.

Despite this issue, Nobles said she is pleased the governor wants to give additional money for high-demand courses that can get students jobs after graduation.

The governor's budget provides $32 million dollars over two years for "resource-intensive community college programs in high demand by employers such as engineering, vocational and technology training." He also wants to increase funding by $28 million dollars over two years for technical education equipments and infrastructure at community colleges across the state.

"These are the programs that teach our graduates how to fix things, build things, repair things, innovate things," McCrory said.

McCrory also proposed adding 1800 full-time teaching positions in the state. However, that may affect the number of teaching assistant positions available.

A spokeswoman for Pitt County Schools released the following statement regarding how the Governor's plans may affect the county:

"The Governor's proposed budget will have benefits and drawbacks for Pitt County Schools.

Assistant Superintendent of Finance, Michael Cowin, said, "The governor's budget includes several line item adjustments that will be very favorable for Pitt County Schools.  The biennials budget proposed by the governor includes an increase in textbook allocations of over 76 million over a two year period which translates to an overall increase 1.2 million for Pitt County Schools. We were also pleased that Gov. McCrory signed house bill 23 and 44, which gives districts the ability to use this money to buy classroom technology to take advantage of the technology initiatives included in the state budget."

The governor's budget also includes substantial increases in funding for instructional supplies which would translate into an additional $500,000 over the two year period for Pitt County Schools.

McCrory's budget includes additional funding for approximately 1,800 teachers across the state.  Dr. Beverly Emory says, "While we are encouraged by the Governor's effort to increase the number of classroom teachers, we remain concerned about North Carolina teacher pay ranking 46th in the nation. We are also concerned about the elimination of significant funding for teacher assistant positions."

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