NC budget puts GOP stamp on schools, universities

RALEIGH, WAKE COUNTY - North Carolina's Republican legislative leaders are putting their free-enterprise stamp on public school and college education, the biggest chunk of this year's $20.6 billion state budget.

The $11.5 billion portion of the state budget set aside for public schools, community colleges and the University of North Carolina system cuts education spending by nearly $260 million this year and another $222 million next year.

The plan unveiled late Sunday and headed toward expected approval in the General Assembly this week would scrap tenure for teachers, cut funding for thousands of teaching assistants and allow armed volunteers into public schools as safety officers.

The budget also would increase the number of college graduates without education degrees as teachers and next year begins giving teachers merit pay.

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