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Politics
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Teacher Assistants A Sticking Point In NC Stopgap Budget

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The North Carolina Senate and House remain far apart on the next spending plan with less than a week before the current budget runs out. The two sides have been working on a stopgap to keep the government running, but they weren’t able to compromise there Thursday, either.

When both the House and Senate suddenly called their members in, it looked like the two chambers had reached an agreement. But twenty minutes later, the House adjourned until Monday, leaving some confused.

“Could you please tell us, give us some hint as to what the heck is going on?” Asked Representative Mickey Michaux, a Durham County Democrat.

“There have been some discussions occurring about a continuing resolution and no agreement has been reached,” said House Speaker Tim Moore.

“I thought we had it,” says Representative Craig Horn. “I thought we were close enough that both sides would say ‘okay, fine.’”

Horn, a House Education committee chairman, says funding teacher assistants was a sticking point.

Representative Chuck McGrady, an appropriations chairman, says the goal for the temporary measure is to maintain the status quo.

“The Senate and the House have very different approaches to teaching assistants in the respective budgets,” McGrady says. “How do you draft a continuing resolution that just doesn’t prejudice either side going forward?”

Much of the funding for teacher assistants is set to expire with the current budget next week. The House wants to keep those assistants. The Senate wants to cut them. Whether a temporary budget lets the funding expire or renews it, lawmakers worry it will set the grounds for the long-term solution.