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      SC senate takes up budget

      Public schools and colleges could be hit hardest by the state's shrinking budget.

      We TMre funding education at a 1995 level, says Sen. John Land.

      It TMs hard to imagine, but it could be a reality for the state TMs public schools, when their share of nearly $175 million in stimulus money runs out.

      We just can TMt lose this whole generation of students by under funding our educational system, said Land.

      With the general fund shrinking by $2 billion dollars in the last two years, senators are trying to look for solutions rather than cuts to fund grades K-12.

      In a way, a budget crisis like this can force you to examine spending to get back to core functions, said Sen. Tom Davis.

      Earlier this month, the Senate Finance Committee proposed fee increases on motorists and outdoor enthusiasts to generate cash to be put towards public safety.

      The difference in education and other agencies are that some of the other agencies have fees and fines, which education does not have available to it, said Sen. Nikki Setzler.

      The state TMs public schools aren TMt the only ones missing out " health and human services could stand to lose $26 million.

      We can TMt have second class citizenship among our state population, said Sen. Phil Leventis.

      Senators say the pressure is on to approve its version of the budget this week.