Wake schools' money-saving measures include layoffs

Posted April 20, 2010
Updated April 21, 2010

— After voting 5-3 for a proposed $1.4 billion budget it will send to county commissioners, the Wake County Board of Education on Tuesday agreed to a plan to save $7 million for the next fiscal year by cutting its work force in its central services division.

 Work force cuts part of Wake schools' budget Work force cuts part of Wake schools' budget

Sixty-eight filled positions – including administrative, instructional, auxiliary and communications – will be eliminated to save an estimated $4.1 million; 57 vacant positions will also go away, saving an estimated $2.9 million.

"The positions that we are recommending to cut are key positions, but the budget is difficult right now,” board member Kevin Hill said.

John Tedesco was the only school board member to vote against the reduction in force.

"I thought there were too many cuts in the budget to places like intervention services and direct needs for our kids, and not enough cuts for some of our upper-level leadership positions in our central services,” Tedesco said.

The money-saving measure comes as the board looks at a potential $40 million less in funding for the upcoming school year, because of low revenue and state-mandated budget cuts.

The school system faces a number of challenges in freeing up money and is considering a variety of measures, such as four-day school weeks, naming rights to athletic fields, pay cuts and shifting bell schedules.

David Neter, the district's chief business officer, told the board Tuesday that the proposed budget includes only what state funding cuts are known now, and more could come as the state deals with its budget deficit and the school system finds out what the county will fund.

In another budget-related move, the board approved a plan to change next year's bell schedule back to one in place during the 2008-09 school year.

That means an extra 10 minutes to the school day – 20 minutes less than a previous plan that would have delayed the opening of many elementary schools by up to 30 minutes.

The proposed budget allocates $750,000 in funding to pay for 25 new buses, drivers and related expenses to transport 6,000 additional bus riders next year. The $1.4 billion total includes $1.2 billion in operating costs and $200 million in capital spending.

About $264,000 of that comes from cutting some of those vacant positions in central services. The remaining comes from eliminating pay-bumps for teachers reaching certain longevity milestones.

Neter noted that no current proposal has cuts in coaches' pay or the number of media specialists in the district.

Those are ideas, however, if state funding falls another 3 to 5 percent, which would mean an additional loss of $20 million to $34 million less for Wake schools. That could lead to larger class sizes and fewer school supplies.

"Our governor is the education governor and I know that she has prioritized education, but we need to be very serious about this,” board member Anne McLaurin said about the probability of more funding cuts.


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  • Kelondris Apr 21, 2010

    I'm with you yabo2k3. Back when I was in school, teachers were actually allowed to disipline the students and if our parents heard about it we were spanked or grounded. These kids are allowed to get away with things so we won't hurt their feelings. Hello! We they get into the work force it doesn't work that way. We need to prepare them for it in school where it won't be as devastating to them. These high school & college students are not prepared for the real world. Let the teachers do their job to the best of their ability and quit holding them back from doing a good job!!

  • yabo2k3 Apr 21, 2010

    "I don't know about anyone else but when I was in school, my teachers didn't have TA's. We had 20-25 kids in our classes and the teachers did everything that we needed."

    I agree with you. However, 30 years ago when I was in school my dad would beat the stuff out of me for being a nuisance or disruptive in school. Now, the NAACP files lawsuits against schools because little Johnny was sent to the office for being disruptive. It all revolves around a primary economic group in our society that already gets handouts and life revolves around drugs and suing, nothing more.

    This is why segregation by ability to be educated needs to be done, not segregation by race, color, gender, sexual orientation. Put those that want to learn and have respect for an education together. Put those that want to be disrespectful, thugs, and dealers together in a school surrounded by razor wire.

  • NoFreakinWay Apr 21, 2010

    "The federal officals will not look kindly at anything that reaks of segregation."

    who cares what Feds look kindly at. They aren't doing a thing to help grad. rates, test scores and gang issues, so I guess they like those things huh.

  • NoFreakinWay Apr 21, 2010

    "Then who would you suggest answer the phone at the school, or deal with the parents that come in, or the students that need medication and are sent to the front office on a daily basis."

    since you think it's so important, how we start manning those spots with volunteer parents? Would you like to take the first shift? Cuts are going to be made and things are going to be removed. Lots of things. Many parents will have a hard time with it because it will mean more work for them. Oh well, that's how it goes. That's the times we are in thanks to clueless voters and clueless leaders!

  • teacher56 Apr 21, 2010

    I can tell you where to cut---get rid of all of central office except 1 superintendent and an assistant superintendent for each district and 1 secretary for each. All these other so called specialists in different subject matters---get rid of them. They are the idiots thinking up more and more paperwork and workshops for teachers to go to. Just give me the kids, a room, and let me do my job!

  • WHEEL Apr 21, 2010

    I personally think the Central Office is the place to cut butI certainly don't want someone who thinks he is saving money by eliminating 57 positions that are not costing him anything to start with, keeping books for me!

  • RedFox Apr 21, 2010

    I don't know about anyone else but when I was in school, my teachers didn't have TA's. We had 20-25 kids in our classes and the teachers did everything that we needed. I'm not saying that TA's are not valuable these days because they are. But are the teachers getting so use to them that they can't function on their own in the classroom if necessary? I think they also need to check into the Special Education departments that travel around the school system. I personally know of at least 1 that makes a nice little chunk of change but does a lot of personal running during the work day. I can't imagine this would be the only one taking advantage of WCPSS time.

  • jamzwilkins Apr 21, 2010

    Weren't the 16 physicians a part of the mandate to combat school athletic deaths due to heat stroke and recognizing other problems? I thought that a trainer had to be on staff. I'm not sure and I may be muddling the two.

  • AWakeMom Apr 21, 2010

    "Well, that is better than actually laying off people in the classrooms."

    Really? Then who would you suggest answer the phone at the school, or deal with the parents that come in, or the students that need medication and are sent to the front office on a daily basis. Everytime little precious needs lunch money they're sent to the office to call a parent that usually doesn't pick up the phone cause they're afraid the school is calling for a different reason. The multitude of hats the front office wears is amazing, and to put up with the public on a daily basis -- it's a job I couldn't do. So again I ask, if those positions are cut, who's going to stop the local pervert from walking the halls of our neighborhood schools????

  • 73ncsu74 Apr 21, 2010

    The Wake County School Board needs to take over Lucas Transportation instead of paying this man to live in a 2 million $$$$ plus house. We could buy new SUV's and hire someone to oversee this and save the county proably 3-5 million a year even buying new SUV's -he owns over 120 of these vehicles and charges WCPSS --MAJOR $$$$$$.