Wake schools consider outside revenue-generating measures

Posted May 26, 2010

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— Wake County schools are looking at $40 million less in funding for the upcoming school year, because of low revenue and state-mandated budget cuts.

The school board’s Finance Committee was updated Wednesday on prospects for the system’s 2010-11 budget in light of previous and recent reductions in state support.

"There is uncertainty at this point,” David Neter, the district’s chief business officer, said.

Because the district can't get all the money needed, talk is turning to ways of generating revenue from outside sources. School districts across the United States are facing budget shortfalls and many are finding creative ways to offset financial losses.

In Anne Arundel, Md., Wake school system's financial officer Mark Winters said, vending company contracts are bringing in extra funds. Seattle, Wash., schools generated $2 million charging for parking spaces. San Diego, Calif., is looking into putting ads on their Web site, and Boston, Mass., is considering ads on school buses.

Wake schools already have one outside revenue-generating measure, a vending contract with Pepsi that brings in around $100,000 a year.

"We are paid a rebate back on the drinks for every case, so we actually get dollars back,” Winters said.

To bring in more money, Wake school board members have considered naming rights to ball fields.

"But there is not a huge amount of interest,” school board member Keith Sutton said.

Interest is increasing for creating a foundation, a nonprofit to raise money through donations. Contributors could use it as a tax write-off.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools has a foundation that raised nearly $2 million, and in Jefferson County, Ky., more than $4 million was generated through a nonprofit.

“I think it is feasible. I think we are going to take a closer look at it,” Wake School Chief Business Officer David Neter said.

Neter said new cuts in Gov. Bev Perdue’s budget amount to $19.7 million – just about the $20 million the Wake school district had expected after the governor announced all state agencies would have to make new cuts, including the Department of Public Instruction.

The new reductions include $13.2 million in what are called discretionary reductions, meaning the school board can decide what to eliminate. About another $6.5 million comes in mandated areas, including less state funding for step increases in salary for teachers, support for transportation and changes in the amount the state pays toward retirement.

The Wake school board last month passed a $1.4 billion budget proposal that included $20 million less in state funding that already was known.


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  • poohperson2000 May 27, 2010

    Is an ad for a Hostess Cupcake really going to kill a kid? It is up to the parents to teach the kids healthy habits, and teach them what advertising does. My son has had a unit in school about it as well. If a hostess add will bring money into the system then go for it. Yes we need to draw the line at booze and liquor because obvisously that is inappropriate, but coke, pepsi, whatever brings in money. It is my job to teach my son that you should not down 5 cokes in the day, not the school system.

  • NoFreakinWay May 27, 2010

    "raise taxes to a level that will fund the schools."

    you can raise your taxes and fund what ever you want, but you're not touching mine!

  • shortcake53 May 27, 2010

    LOL FitnessMan, I can just picture Tampax High on a school. I could go on, but I wont.

  • town guy May 27, 2010

    Here's a way to raise some money - raise taxes to a level that will fund the schools.

  • bj2o1o May 27, 2010

    How about we let kids take EOG tests at the beginning of the year? If they pass, the don't have to take up a seat in the classroom.

  • FitnessMan May 27, 2010

    I am all for alternative means of generating money. Not am I only for naming rights of fields, but let them name the schools if it will bring in the money we need. I believe businesses should be partnering with schools anyway b/c the kids are the employees of the future. These same kids in k-12 will be working for IBM, CISCO, SAS, etc. Businesses donate millions apun millions a year for charities, etc, why not donate that to their counties schools. As long as the education is improved then I don't care if my son goes to IBM elementary. Here are different times, and people need to think outside the box.

  • Mommyoftwo May 27, 2010

    REALLY?? This is all they can come up with? The same stuff they said 4 years ago and they're just reiterating it again. I really have no problem with advertising on the school buses if it's related to education or health of children but I don't want to see ads for Hostess Cupcakes on there. What about advertising on the baseball walls if they don't do that already? Or if a company wants to help fund building a new school and they provide mroe than 50% of the funding give them naming rights.

    Even better idea...look at the job descriptions of both Neter and Winters, see they're the same and fire one of them! You'll save close to $200k a year doing that!

  • BeenHereSince67 May 27, 2010

    no, No, NO!!!

    The State (county or city) has no right to allow "our" assets to be auctioned off for the benefit of ANY business concern! Our schools, roads, buildings, and all other property the State owns are OURS, not freakin' Pepsi-Cola Corp's!!


  • NoFreakinWay May 27, 2010

    how about they slam a tax on the 80% for not having kids? Makes just as much sense.
    How about the 20% of us with kids lobby to have to stop paying your medicare or your retirement as a gov'mint worker? Or better yet, how those of us with kids no longer want our money going towards jails and handling the criminals that don't graduate?
    Now taxing those who have too many kids, that could be a great idea! THAT is where the problem is!

  • Hendu May 27, 2010

    wait,..can I go across the border to Mexico and my kids get free spanish lessons? No, I could be arrested by a citizen for being illegal doing that.