NCAE Challenges UNC System to Avoid Classroom Cuts

Jun 14, 2010, 13:43 ET from North Carolina Association of Educators

$10 million spent on out-of-state athletes would pay for 250 teachers

RALEIGH, N.C., June 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a letter to UNC President Erskine Bowles, NCAE President Sheri Strickland today challenged the UNC system's leadership to prioritize protecting the classroom at all academic levels.

"We believe every North Carolina student deserves access to a quality education on every rung of the academic ladder," Strickland said. "But it is difficult to see the UNC system protecting questionable spending at a time when 5,000 K-12 teachers and education staff have lost their jobs and more classroom jobs are on the line."

Strickland's letter was sent in response to recent assertions by UNC leaders that proposed budget cuts to the UNC system would hurt minority students and result in instructional staff layoffs.

"There is ample evidence the UNC system could do a better job at protecting classrooms from cuts," Strickland said.  "For starters, the $10 million spent annually on giving tuition breaks to out-of-state athletes could fund 250 teachers."

Last year, the News & Observer reported that administrative positions in the UNC system increased by 28 percent over five years, from 1,269 administrative jobs to 1,623. That increase in administrators outpaced the growth of student enrollment, as well as faculty and other teaching positions.

In addition, a study by the Bain & Co. consulting firm found that UNC-Chapel Hill had too many supervisors, swollen administrative costs, overly complicated organizational structures and inefficient bureaucracy. If fully implemented, the Bain study's recommendations could save $66 million per year.

"In this tough budget environment, all educators need to work together to make classroom funding a priority," Strickland said.  "I am asking for your help here and in Washington to keep educators in the classroom and out of the unemployment lines."

Strickland requested Bowles to help lobby Congress to pass emergency federal funding to help states protect education jobs.  This weekend President Obama sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to help states, like NC, avoid massive teacher layoffs.  

NCAE is the state's largest education association, representing nearly 60,000 active, retired and student members in North Carolina.

SOURCE North Carolina Association of Educators