Cuts are expected in the new state budgets that take effect Oct. 1. The question is: How much?
Officials say the recession's continued impact on the state education budget will force a second year of across-the-board cuts. State Superintendent of Education Joe Morton is forecasting 6 percent. Teacher lobbyist Paul Hubbert says 4.5 to 5.5 percent. And two-year college leader Joan Davis is telling colleges to prepare for 8.5 percent to 10 percent.
Acting State Finance Director Bill Newton has already warned most General Fund agencies to expect a 3 percent reduction in their appropriations for the first nine months of the fiscal year. The state hopes to make up the difference in the final three months, but Newton says it will take an upturn in the economy for that to happen.