Education Debate In State Budget Proposals

A Senate budget proposal unveiled Monday includes deep cuts in public education.

At the top of the Senate's list: increasing the average size of public school classrooms by two students through the 2010-11 school year, at a savings of $322 million annually. Lawmakers faced a $3.4 billion budget gap for next year.

Governor Perdue has said she adamantly opposes such an idea, which would reverse several years of efforts to lower class sizes,
particularly in early grades. Her office says the Senate's plan could eliminate more than 6,000 teaching positions.

Senators say the larger classrooms would be temporary and that most of the reduction in teacher employment would come through attrition as teachers retire, move out of state or change careers.

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