Wake parents offer creative school budget advice

Posted December 21, 2010
Updated January 18, 2011

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— From changing the light bulbs to canceling school lunches, parents of Wake County students offered creative suggestions to help the school system save money next year.

The Wake County Public School System faces an estimated $70 million to $100 million budget shortfall next year, due to a lack of county, state and federal funding.

Federal stimulus money is also drying up.

Desperate for input, the school system set up a web site for parents to submit their money-saving ideas.

Suzy Lamb was eager to make suggestions. She said she's seen teachers forced to do more with less money.

"I have seen how they had to cut back on other things at the school," she said.

She suggested the school system change their light bulbs.

"Replacing light bulbs with LED ones that last longer and use less electricity or switches that would go out when no one was in the classroom," Lamb said.

Wake schools request input to save money next year Wake schools request input to save money next year

Another parent suggested schools turn their cafeterias to buffets to reduce the number of staff they need to hand out food. One parent even recommended eliminating school lunch programs altogether.

"Make parents responsible to pack their children's own lunches," the unidentified respondent wrote.

One concerned resident offered the idea of cutting a school day out of the week, making up for it with four longer days.

Chrys Browne has worked for Wake County schools for a long time, she said. She thinks district leaders should allow employees, excluding teachers, to take furlough without pay instead of cutting positions.

Lamb said she hopes district leaders consider all the submitted ideas.

"I hope if they are asking for (input), it is genuine in asking for information and they are willing to look at it," she said.

The district expects an additional 4,100 students will either be enrolled in schools or attending local charter schools next year.

Suggestions are still being accepted on the Wake schools' website.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Dec 23, 2010

    "I've got lots of creative advise. First, park all the buses and put the parents in charge of transportation."

    Good then you can provide tranportation for my kid.

  • stupiditydeservesnosympathy Dec 23, 2010

    "If you do not qualify for food stamps, you ain't that poor."

    Have you seen the low amount you have to make to qualify for food stamps? If you did, you won't make such a ignorant comment.

    "Do you have a cell phone? Get rid of it."

    -- might be easy for you. I need it to have a phone since I can't afford home phone service and it the cheapest option in phone service.

    "If you are out of work, which so many claim, then volunteer at the local food bank. They will give you food for your children’s lunches and you will be working by helping your community!"

    Voluntering is for people who can afford to do that. People who don't work usually don't have the money to waste on gas going to the food bank; they need that money and gas to go on interviews and job searches.

  • edith wharton Dec 23, 2010

    Conversations around "why bother to educate children" are beyond ridiculous. If only those who could afford private school were educated, we would quickly have a society full of uneducated people with a few educated, wealthy in control of everything. Many of us had ancestors who came from the British islands, where this system was in place. Our ancestors chose to leave, by any means possible, in hopes of finding something better. Like it or not, we have something better.

    I, for one, am grateful for the public school education that I, my parents, my siblings, my children, my husband, and all my nieces and nephews have received and are receiving. Though college-educated (public schools again), my husband and I could not afford to send our children to private school. I am profoundly grateful to the school systems that educated us and to the taxpayers of those counties for making it possible.

  • Bendal1 Dec 23, 2010


    Subdivisions lots aren't large enough to turn into sustainable gardens, and I seriously doubt your father had a garden large enough to feed your entire family. I grew up on a 45 acre farm and even though we raised cattle for meat and had a large garden, my mother bought groceries as well. Unless you think raising a few beans and tomatoes will sustain a family year round, you're idea that "people are lazy because they don't garden" is just silly.

  • Brindy Dec 22, 2010

    Positions to cut: Area superintendents, assistants to the area superintendents, chief area superintendent, chief business officer, chief communications officer, chief operations officer, chief of staff, directors and senior administrators in special ed and other academic departments, coordinating teachers and transition training facilitators in special ed and other academic departments.....that is a lot of FAT!!! Cut it all and just let teachers teach without having to deal with all these other slackers and their continuous dumping of garbage on us! Kids have to eat, leave lunches alone. Schools need their AP's, leave them alone. Cut all the $100K+ jobs up there and the other wasteful jobs and start consolidating and making those people WORK! Leave the people who are actually in the trenches alone and let them do their jobs.

  • dlk13ster Dec 22, 2010

    Why bother having public schools at all? This is SOCIALISM, people!!! BIG GUMMINT is telling you what/how to think, and charging YOU for the right to do it!


  • jnc67 Dec 22, 2010

    Please quit saying "fire administrators" as if they are expendable. I have yet to meet an AP who "just walks around the school not doing anything. " The high school for my neighborhood has 2600 kids in it. We have 5 assistant principals. That is over 500 kids each assistant principal is responsible for! They deal with discipline issues, field parent calls, sit in on special education conferences, and conduct teacher observations. They attend every after school event; every athletic game, music concert, and theater performance. If these assistant principals did not do they job they do, chaos would rein. If positions need to be cut, cut them from the superintendents at central office.

  • RB-1 Dec 22, 2010

    aspenstreet - "My Grandfather used to work all day in the cotton mill and then his garden in the evenings.The kids were right beside him helping.People today are lazy and look for an excuse to lay around.There are much easier alternatives."

    I agree.

    My dad was a milkman. He worked from 4 am to 6 pm daily, then came home and worked in the garden, or in the wintertime, cut wood for heating the house.

    And when he was outside working, so were we. Working in the garden taught us how much it takes to grow food, and I believe made us less wasteful with it.

    We also had chickens and pigs. He'd feed them in the morning. We fed them when we got home from school. That taught us a lot about caring for our food too, cause skinny or sick animals don't net one much food.

    People today have it too easy, and they're teaching their kids the same way. If REAL hard times hit, they will NOT survive. Those who grew up the hard way will.

    Remember, only the strong and wise survive.

  • RB-1 Dec 22, 2010

    Offer to sell the name of schools to major corporations, like for college or major sports stadiums.

    It's advertising for them, and revenue for the schools.

  • RB-1 Dec 22, 2010

    "Make parents responsible to pack their children's own lunches," the unidentified respondent wrote."

    I can go for this, with school-prepared brown paper bag lunches for those on Federally assisted food programs.

    That's what I carried from home for years. Good enough for me, good enough for any kid nowadays, low income or not.