Advocates say WCPSS students deserve more from county budget

Posted June 6, 2016

— Advocates for Wake County schools gave the Wake County Board of Commissioners an earful Monday night when the meeting was opened up for public comment about plans for next year’s budget.

The proposed Wake County budget increases funding to schools, but it does not give the Wake County Public School System all the money it asked for.

“The proposal is weak,” said WakeUp Wake County Chair, Julia Lee. “It is a sound investment, it is our future.”

There is an $11.8 million gap between the $35.7 million the district requested and the $23.9 million increase proposed in the county budget.

“Our students deserve more,” said teacher Kristen Beller. “Wake County Public Schools has made it easy for you to identify their needs.”

Steve Parrot with the Wake Education Partnership said that per-pupil funding has remained virtually flat since 2008. Enrollment in Wake County schools has increased by 14 percent since 2008, school board members noted, while state funding is down 2 percent per student during that span.

School officials said that if they are not fully funded, there could be cuts. Class sizes could increase, the number of supplies could be reduced, the athletics department could see increased fees and there would be delayed performance pay for teachers.

“All these things they would have to cut, we are only just learning about that,” said Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair James West. “Our data right now doesn’t necessarily support that, but we are gathering the information to see if that is in fact the case.”

West said there are a number of competing interests the budget must answer, but advocates for schools said the district has been underfunded for years now.

“You are going to have to do something significant to address all these issues,” said Larry Nilles with Wake NCAE.

School advocates put a lot of the funding blame on state lawmakers. Other speakers at Monday night’s meeting asked commissioners to look for waste in the school system and make sure money was being used equally.

A vote on the budget is expected later this month.


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  • Roger Way Jun 7, 2016
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    Really? You don't consider school property and building construction, maintenance, cooling, heating, water, waste, food storage & prep, classroom and school furnishings and equipment, internet connections, audio video, school bus maintenance & operation, fuel, administrative support, security, books & media, and a dozen or so other daily costs to be viable expenses on behalf of the students? So - plop - there's a teacher - all done! sad, really sad.

    That said, I agree with when is enough enough. I, too, feel that we have a mismanagement, uncontrolled growth, and spending problem. Back
    to basics.

  • Perry Masonjar Jun 7, 2016
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    Please tell me how much money is enough? No matter how much they get, they always want more. Much like "The Little Shop of Horrors." FEED ME! Here is a novel approach, apply six sigma principles to the education system and eliminate some waste. It is not a revenue problem it is a spending problem.

  • Demute Sainte Jun 7, 2016
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    Considering that Wake county spends nearly $10,000 per student.... thats $300,000 per classroom of 30 per year.... and the average teachers salary/benefits costs about $65,000 per year. You gotta wonder... what is the Wake county school system doing with the remaining $235,000 per classroom or roughly $8,000 per child?

    Taxpayers and our children deserve better. The entire public education system is bloated, wasteful and inefficient. Just like every other government run program.

  • Shandy Scott Jun 7, 2016
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    The 100% Democrats sitting on the Commissioners Board are out of control. The real estate tax rate in Wake County remain the same from 2008-2013 at .534. Then came the Democrats. Over the last three years the rate including the year 2016 will have increased by 17%. The average assessment just increased 5% which is another tax increase. The two billion dollar bond that will be presented in November will increase it another 22%. Let's add these up. This will be in four years and increase in real estate taxes for homeowners of 44%. I challenge anyone to find another area in the country whose real estate taxes have risen 44% in four years.