Easley Signs State Budget

Governor Mike Easley signed the state's new budget Tuesday morning, saying it would make the state the nation's leader in education innovation.

The new budget provides almost $1 billion more in resources, increasing education funding some 9%.

It also provides $25 million for a new dental school at East Carolina University.

Other education highlights include:

*$100 million for EARN scholars so those with family income less than 200% of the federal poverty level can get two years of college debt free
*$11.5 million for Learn & Earn Online so more schools can improve high speed Internet access
*5% salary hike for public school teachers, community college instructors and university professors