Budget 'Shorts Charters'
The $18.9 billion budget passed by the N.C. Senate Thursday shortchanges charter schools, says state Rep. Jamie Boles.
Boles has other serious concerns about the budget. So does state Sen. Harris Blake, who voted against the final version. Boles is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, which gets its first close-up look at the budget on Monday.
Although the $2.3 million appropriation to fund Samarkand Youth Development Center remains in the Senate budget, the youth correctional institution in Eagle Springs is not mentioned by name. This is an omission that troubles Boles.
He says the legislature should not dictate the internal operations of the N.C. Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. The budget submitted by Gov. Bev Perdue earlier in this legislative session provides full funding for Samarkand.
Treatment of charter schools is just one of several areas in the public education budget that concern Boles. He says it appears that the Senate budget attempts to short the charter school program -without making the cuts so blatant as to interfere with the state's second try for special federal stimulus funds for public education.
Boles says state education leaders, including Jean Atkinson, superintendent of public instruction, apparently were not involved in the Senate's education budget discussions.
"I wonder if they're interested in the children or interested in the money," Boles said Friday.
The House Appropriations Committee will hold a public hearing on the state budget Monday night from 7 until 10 at McKimmon Center on the N.C. State University campus in Raleigh.
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