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Just happy to be here

N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson was a bit coy Thursday about a report in the Chronicle of Higher Education that said he was "widely considered to be a frontrunner" for the University of Florida presidency.

University honchos huddle on the future of higher education

A retreat for top administrators at UNC-Chapel Hill featured leaders from the two big rival research universities down the road.

Duke University President Richard Brodhead and N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson were speakers on the agenda of a retreat Wednesday at the Carolina Inn hosted by UNC-CH Chancellor Holden Thorp. The daylong event was attended by deans and administrators in Thorp's cabinet.

Brodhead, a former English professor, spoke on the future of humanities while Woodson, a plant scientist, spoke about NCSU's plans and collaborations at the university, according to the agenda.

Thorp's topic was "The Case for Public Higher Education."

Also on the agenda was Charlie Clotfelter, a professor of public policy and of economics and law at Duke. He's the author of "Big-Time Sports in American Universities."

Wake legislators host education leaders

Education leaders headlined a meeting of legislators from Wake County, held Monday afternoon against the backdrop of a not-so-pretty fiscal picture. 

Legislators are looking to fill a $2.4 billion budget hole and will likely take a chunk out of education spending to do it.

Sen. Josh Stein, a Raleigh Democrat, raised the possibilty of university cuts of 15 percent to 20 percent, and community college budget cuts of 10 percent to 15 percent.

After the meeting, Sen. Neal Hunt, a Raleigh Republican and a chief budget writer, said education cuts wouldn't be that deep, but it may be that higher ed will face deeper cuts than K-12 schools.

Legislators are going to find cuts of 10 percent in the total education budget, with cuts to K-12 schools in the 5 percent to 8 percent range, Hunt said.

It's generally agreed that "K-12 is going to need a little more protection, so it's got to impact somebody," he said.

N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson, Wake Tech Presdient Stephen Scott and Wake Board of Education Chairman Ron Margiotta and other school system representatives spoke to legislators.

Here are the highlights.

From Woodson:

N.C. State has taken $146.9 million in budget cuts over the last four years.

From Scott:

In the past four years, community college system enrollment is up 25 percent, and Wake Tech enrollment is up 36 percent.

Per pupil spending has declined 12 percent over three years.

Wake Tech's enrollment increase this year accounts for 20 percent of the system increase, he said, so failure to fund enrollment growth would disproportionately effect Wake residents.

From Wake Superintendent Tony Tata:

His proposed district budget assumes a 5 percent state budget cut. The district would be able to maintain class sizes in early grades and lower class sizes from 28 to 27 students in 4th and 5th grades.

"Teacher-student ratio is key to everything," he said.

From Margiotta:

He would be receptive to having home schooled children join public school sports teams, as a pending bill would allow.

"These parents pay taxes," he said.

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