Senate Wants Atkinson’s Documentation On DPI Budget Cuts [UPDATED]

Last month, I wrote about the little bombshell Superintendent Atkinson dropped that no one seemed to really pick up on other than Alex Granados at EducationNC.

Quick recap:

Alex Granados at EducationNC picked up on it:

State Superintendent June Atkinson and State Board of Education Chair Bill Cobey were given the power by the State Board last month to implement the General Assembly-mandated 5 percent ($2.5 million) reductions at DPI. This month, they turned into the Board a document that cuts about 18 positions. But those 18 positions aren’t really going away. Three are currently vacant, and those positions will disappear, Atkinson said. But the rest will move to handle work under the General Assembly’s Excellent Public Schools Act, for which DPI received $3.8 million from legislators this past session.

“Please remember that it’s a matter of moving from state funding to state funding,” Atkinson said.

Do you see what Atkinson did there? She moved jobs that were slated to be cut under the $2.5 in budget cuts ordered by the General Assembly to a program that was given $3.8 million in funding.

So in a nutshell, Atkinson took jobs from DPI that should have been in the ordered budget cuts and shifted them to the budget of a new program.

The Senate is calling her out on it.

Via the News and Observer:

Senate leader Phil Berger charged education leaders with planning to divert to state jobs money that was meant to help students read, but the state superintendent said that isn’t so.

In a Monday letter to state Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson and State Board of Education Chairman Bill Cobey, Berger said the state Department of Public Instruction’s spending plan ignores the legislature’s intent.

The state budget called for $2.5 million in DPI reductions. The budget has an additional $3.7 million going to implement the Read to Achieve law, which requires that most third-graders read proficiently before they’re promoted.

The $3.7 million was to go to the local districts for tutors, Berger said, but DPI is using it to maintain its “bloated bureaucracy.” The department plans to disguise the spending by relabeling existing jobs and work, he wrote.

Of course, Supt. Atkinson says Berger is wrong. I don’t think he is though.

DPI cut some jobs — three of which were vacant and the other 15 were shifted from one budget to another. Atkinson played a shrewd shell game there.

Remember, she did the same thing when Race To The Top funding dried up.

UPDATE: Atkinson backtracks at the NCGA Ed Committee meeting.

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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2 Responses to Senate Wants Atkinson’s Documentation On DPI Budget Cuts [UPDATED]

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