Education

Wake schools review more budget cuts, implement hiring freeze

Posted April 14, 2010
Updated April 15, 2010

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— The Wake County Public School System reviewed two proposals Wednesday in effort to plan for an additional $20 million in budget cuts for the 2010-2011 school year.

Chief Business Officer David Neter told Board of Education members last week that the state Department of Public Instruction, at the request of the governor, is expected to reduce state funding for all school systems by 3 percent for the next school year.

The state might have misjudged its revenue projections, he said, and schools could eventually be asked to cut their budgets by 5 percent.

Wake County Public School System Wake schools plan for budget cuts

Board members on Wednesday reviewed proposals showing the impact both of levels of reduction would have on the system.

In the 3 percent scenario, the system would see nearly $16 million in school-based cuts, nearly $2 million in central services reductions and $2 million in centrally budgeted money spent in schools.

The 5 percent reduction would cause $34 million in cuts, including $27 million in school-based cuts.

The school-based cuts would include a reduction of extra-duty pay and an increase in the students-to-teacher ratio. In addition the money allotted to the system per student would be used to fill in budget gaps.

The school system is also expecting a $5 million shortfall in revenue for the current year.

Hiring freeze in effect

In anticipation of receiving less money from the state, the school system has implemented a hiring freeze, according to a memo distributed this week to principals.

The freeze affects all central services and school-based positions, except special education and ESL teachers, according to the letter sent by Stephen Gainey, assistant superintendent for human resources.

The freeze, which went into effect on Monday, will also affect new hires and re-hires, who will not be considered for employment during the 2010-2011 school year until all contractual obligations have been met.

There are about 800 employees with contracts ending June 30, officials said. In normal budget years, these people would be considered automatic re-hires.

The memo states that after the freeze is lifted, re-hires in certified, non-administrator positions will be employed on a probationary contract for the remainder of the school year.

The school board and district administrators are also considering laying off about 70 staff in central services and eliminating 30 to 35 vacant positions to save about $6.64 million. Those cuts would affect instructional services, communications, chief of staff, auxiliary services and administrative services.

School system staff members are expected to give details about the possible layoffs to board members at the next school board meeting on April 20.

Bell schedule changes

In addition to cuts, the school system is looking to raise the prices of school meals and is working on a plan to amend the bell schedules for next year to help close the gap.

The board is looking at ways to save money on purchasing buses and hiring drivers to accommodate the anticipated 2,000 additional bus riders next year.

The school system currently runs buses at different times to allow buses to run up to three routes in both the mornings and afternoons, cutting down on the number of buses and drivers needed.

A plan proposed last month would have saved $750,000 by having elementary students start the school day 25 minutes later.

Concerns that the change would affect student performance and force changes to after-school activities prompted board members to reject the plan and direct school staff to find other alternatives.

The board reviewed three potential bell schedule scenarios on Wednesday. One would leave the schedule the same as the 2008-2009 school year, another would add 15 minutes, causing school to start and end later and a final schedule would create a hybrid of the old and new schedule by adding 15 minutes only to the first tier of elementary, middle and high schools.

To keep the current schedule, the board said it could save money by freezing the teacher pay scale and eliminating vacant positions in central services.

In an effort to cut even more money, board members also discussed reducing the school week from five to four days and selling the naming rights to high school athletic fields.

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  • soyousay Apr 15, 2010

    My last post did not make sense even to me...what I meant was the perhaps State Mom has not had the same opportunity as others to actually have qualified teachers, at least one of her children may run in to one or two at State..

  • soyousay Apr 15, 2010

    Perhaps State Mom never went to State (any anything close to it), and understands what a qualified teacher actually is. But at least one of children is better themself

  • soyousay Apr 15, 2010

    ncguy....hey how are you?
    If a child is born in this country, even to you I might add, he or she is considered an american citizen. Hate it for you

  • kingkinzo Apr 15, 2010

    Its so sad how much people talk about how much they want for them or for their kids when america is supposed to be a democracy about the good of everybody; and I dont know where some of you people are getting your facts from, but maybe you should thouroughly know what youre talking about before you go around saying things that you shouldnt say (FlashysWife/DeathRow)

  • Plenty Coups Apr 15, 2010

    statemom-"How about having welfare receipents volunteer in the schools and drive the buses and save all those salaries - make them work for my money!!!"

    Just the sort I'd want around my kids. How about sending them to your house to do your work?

  • Adelinthe Apr 15, 2010

    Statemom - This is a continuation because the character counter isn't working on WRAL and GOLO anymore for some unfathomable reason.

    Anyway, here's the rest of what I said. Thank God I kept a copy.

    -----

    Have you ever worked as such???

    Do you know what children in school need and when they need it?

    Do you know what it takes to get what they need when they need it???

    I'm no teacher, but even I know that it takes far more than I have knowledge of.

    God bless.

    RB

  • Adelinthe Apr 15, 2010

    Grand - "Did anyone ever think that lottery money would go to the schools?"

    Just long enough to reel us in.

    There oughta be a law.

    God bless.

    RB

  • Adelinthe Apr 15, 2010

    StateMom - Lord, where does one start with your comments.

    "Shut all traditional schools (all across the state) down during the month of July; only pay principals and secretaries for 11 months, not 12."

    Traditional schools are shut down from mid June to mid August as it is.

    "What are they doing sitting in an empty school all summer?"

    Uhmmm, planning for when the kids come back which is a full time, year round job.

    "...principals and secretaries for 11 months, not 12."

    Would you work a job like that? Most people can't afford to.

    "Anybody ever seen anyone working 7-5:30?"

    Yep, did it myself for years.

    "How about having welfare receipents volunteer in the schools and drive the buses and save all those salaries - make them work for my money!!!"

    And who pays for their babysitters while they're doing that???

    "...let them work in shifts to replace the teacher assistants!!!"

    Teacher's assistance are generally trained individuals.

    Have you ever worked as such??? Do you know what chi

  • Adelinthe Apr 15, 2010

    So much for the stimulus CREATING NEW JOBS.

    sheesh

    Lord only knows we need new buildings, new roads and new bridges far more than we need teachers.

    (sarcasm)

    Praying for the children, the ones who should ALWAYS be getting the first consideration.

    God bless.

    RB

  • grimreaper Apr 15, 2010

    It is all because your tax money goes into a hole. Where I grew up a portion of your property tax was from the local municipality and went straight to local school system which was city based not county based. You knew exactly what you were paying per household and where it went and that it would be there. Here it goes into a general vapor hole where the legislature is free to fritter every penny they want away on whatever garbage they see fit and then "budget" for the schools afterwards. None of the schools back home are facing teacher layoffs.

    This state/county system here is garbage and cannot ever work efficiently and will always be in turmoil year to year. Big government simply cannot run anything. The school system here budgets money they "expect" to get instead of money they know they are getting. It is a complete sham.

    Think about it...do think Cary schools would be laying off teachers if your property tax went straight to Cary schools? No way. Not a chance.

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