Wake County Schools

Merrill: Many needs for Wake schools, but little funding is 'frustrating'

Posted March 16, 2015

— Getting the Wake County Public School System to where it needs to be will be very expensive, district leaders explained to Wake County commissioners on Monday.

Among other needs:

  • Expanding Pre-K to low-income children - $1.4 million
  • Teacher professional development - $1.2 million
  • Increases in extra duty pay – nearly $9 million
  • Raising Wake County teacher pay to the national average – about $100 million

"It’s very frustrating,” Wake schools Superintendent Jim Merrill said. “The 3,000 new kids coming in constantly gobble up any new revenue.”

Merrill added that state funds tied to those new students is no longer guaranteed, and the state no longer pays for programs like driver’s education.

“When you have to go back to things you used to be taken care of and you can count on, now you can’t,” he said.

Merrill, currently working on his proposed district budget, showed commissioners the challenges he is facing.

“It’s a little bit overwhelming. It is heart-wrenching,” Commissioner James West said.

While the aforementioned requests will not be in Merrill’s budget, the superintendent provided a hint of his funding plan for Wake schools.

“We are not going to put any of those huge numbers in the budget, but we might put year one of a four year plan, or something like that,” he said.


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  • Jon Gregory Mar 17, 2015
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    Here we go again with WCPSS crying poor mouth! Play the Lottery!

  • Alexia Proper Mar 17, 2015
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    The 3,000 student would just under 2% of the population. Do they not have space for 2% more? Interestingly, back in December, N&O had a story titled "Enrollment shortfall could cost Wake County schools millions in NC funding" where there were fewer students than anticipated. So which is it? And don't those new students come with parents paying taxes?

    And to need $100M to hit a national salary average means teachers need $645 per student to teach class given the 155,000 students in the county. How is the cost of living here compared to the national average? Wouldn't we all like to ask the boss to bump our pay to the national average.

    I think these guys have no skill at managing large operations. We should get rid of county schools and just gave city schools with local management. Maybe then they can juggle the numbers. We never had these issues in my small town growing up, and we had way less money.