The economic crisis has hit the classroom, and public schools and colleges are taking extreme measures to cope, reports In Alabama, lower-than-expected revenues forced the state to hold back 25 percent of the schools’ October allocations until more money arrived. The state paid the rest of the money by Nov. 6, but in the meantime, schools dipped into reserves or borrowed money to pay their bills. Georgia’s DeKalb County school district was faced with cutting $10.5 million from its budget. Anticipating a worsening economy, the school board instead approved plans to cut $20 million and will lay off 127 employees by June. It’s also scaling back its signature door-to-door bus service, instead creating pick-up and drop-off hubs for students who travel by bus to school. In higher education, Rhode Island’s three public universities and Michigan State University have taken the unusual step of raising tuition midyear, while the presidents of the 30 colleges in the State University of New York system are asking for a $545 increase for spring 2009. It would be the system’s first tuition increase in five years. Midyear increases are "a measure of last resort," but one that other colleges and systems will have to consider, said Dan Hurley, the state relations director of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Cutting education spending is an indication of how bleak the economy looks. States are usually reluctant to cut school funding in times of economic hardship, because education is "politically sacrosanct," said Scott Pattison, the executive director of the National Association of State Budget Officers. Yet already this year, South Carolina cut 3 percent funding to K-12 education, while California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger told schools and community colleges that their budgets will be up to $2.5 billion poorer for the rest of this school year because of the state’s money crisis…

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