Wake County Schools

Wake schools superintendent unveils $1.25B budget

Posted March 6, 2012
Updated March 7, 2012

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— Wake County schools Superintendent Tony Tata on Tuesday unveiled a $1.25 billion operating budget for the 2012-13 school year, a $24.3 million decrease from 2011-12.

Despite the leaner budget, he said, he doesn't anticipate any layoffs.

"We do not propose cutting any people," Tata said. "We're down to the bone, we believe, on personnel."

The spending plan decrease represents a loss of funding from expiring federal grants, as well as cuts to state funding.

The loss, Tata said, is partially offset by increasing spending from the school system's fund balance and by a requested additional $8.8 million appropriation from Wake County.

Tata told school board members at a meeting Tuesday that his budget proposal renews the school system's investment in teachers with a 1 percent raise – the first in four years – and a $500 one-time bonus for most other employees.

"We have 18,000 employees and they haven't seen raise in four years," Tata said. "In a down economy, we're trying to show our people we care about them."

Funds are also allocated for placing resources at historically low-performing or under-enrolled schools, and the budget takes into account more efficient operations, such as a new bus routing system.

Tony Tata Wake schools chief proposes lean budget for 2012-13

Board member Keith Sutton said he was still digesting the details of Tata's budget proposal, but his initial response was positive.

"I'm pleased with it and I hope we can find a way to close the gap of $8.8 million," Sutton said.

Commissioner Joe Bryan said Wake County's top priority for next year's budget is not to raise taxes. While he said the commission would consider Tata's request for the $8.8 appropriation, he doubts that much money will be available.

Choice selection results

Also Tuesday, district administrators told board members that nearly 75 percent of parents who took part in the first phase of the Wake County student assignment plan's choice selection process will get their first school choice.

The parents of 19,048 students participated in the first round last month. Of those students, 8,911 are rising kindergarteners. Of those kindergarteners, 92 percent will get their first choice. Parents will receive their notifications by March 16.

Some board members were concerned that several schools are being under-selected and that, based on the choices, 19 schools will see an increase in the number of students who receive free and reduced-price lunches.

A second choice selection round is scheduled from March 19 through April 9 for any parent who didn't participate in the first round. Assignments based on those choices will be made by mid-April.

Under the new assignment model, parents rank a list of schools based on their home address. Once a student is assigned to a school, he or she is guaranteed a seat in that school's feeder pattern as long as he or she is enrolled in the school system.

Parents of students who are new or returning to the school system, rising kindergartners and parents who want their children to switch schools must go through the selection process.

Bell schedules

The school board put off voting on a controversial change to school start times to save as much as $10 million in transportation costs.

The move would change arrival and dismissal times at many schools by as much as an hour.

More than 100 buses would also be taken off the street, students would spend more time on the bus and the number of students on each route would also increase.

Parents have inundated the district with complaints that the proposed changes would negatively affect their families' schedules.

NAACP's Barber returns to meeting

Less than a week after pleading guilty to trespassing at a school board meeting two years ago, NAACP state President Rev. William Barber and several other protesters returned to the meeting Tuesday.

Barber and 29 others were banned in 2010 after disrupting meetings over the board changing its school board policy.

Twenty-one pleaded guilty on Friday. They arranged a deal over the weekend with the board to return.

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  • beaglesrcute Mar 14, 2012

    "You get paid for what you are worth. The best and brightest don't get easy education degrees?"

    I am a member of MENSA (a high IQ society, allowing membership only to top 1% of IQ's) and yet I chose to become a special education teacher to work with special needs children. Working with children with autism, behavior disorders, learning disabilities and ADHD is not "easy" by any stretch of the imagination.

  • westernwake1 Mar 7, 2012

    "Again, you get paid for what you are worth. The best and the brightest don't get easy education degrees." - Rocky2.0

    You do realize that over 30% of the math and science teachers in North Carolina classrooms are "second career" people who did lateral transfers into the profession. These teachers usually have math, chemistry, physics, engineering, computer science, and other technical degrees, most have Masters degrees. Are these people also not the best and brightest? Or maybe they just wanted to contribute to society in a more direct way by building our future, even if the profession is not the highest paying.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 7, 2012

    "Again, you get paid for what you are worth."

    It doesn' work that way. Teachers don't get performance pay (the last merit pay was taken away) nor can they ask their principals for a raise no matter how good they are. They are at the mercy of a general Assembly that doesn't want to increase their pay.

    " The best and the brightest don't get easy education degrees."

    Most people don't get any degree. They don't get it because the pay is so low. Still wondering about your "proof" that one degree is so much "easier" than another. Anecdotal claims such as yours are ridiculous.

  • Plenty Coups Mar 7, 2012

    "LOL. But the difference, we both know you are lying. ;^)"

    Just like you lying about education degrees.:)

  • Plenty Coups Mar 7, 2012

    "Our taxes have gone up rapidly and the census data is not provided past 2005 - I didn't cherry pick their data, it's here:"

    Again, you originally claimed "_"Hate to tell you but our taxes have gone up extremely fast in the last 20 years here."

    Your 1st link is to a chart that shows the years 1995-1999. It starts at a per capita rank of 17th and ends at...17th. The increase in the amount of tax barely keeps up with the inflation rate over that 5 year period. Please explain again how that is "extremely fast over 20 years". Then you link to the census which shows our per capita rank to be 26th as of 2005.

    "The taxfoundation.org has other more recent data, but I'm sure you'd find fault with their numbers too since it's not the government ;)"

    I don't have a problem w/ the tax foundation data or w/ your other data. I just want proof that our overall NC taxes have been going up "very quickly". The data doesn't support that.:)

  • Rocky2.0 Mar 7, 2012

    "The state requires teachers to have one and then doesn't want to pay them comparable wages to other jobs requiring that education level."

    Again, you get paid for what you are worth. The best and the brightest don't get easy education degrees.

    Please pay attention.

  • Rocky2.0 Mar 7, 2012

    "It was common knowledge at my university that Computer science degrees were a joke. (Two can play that game)"

    LOL. But the difference, we both know you are lying. ;^)

  • Nancy Mar 7, 2012

    "After failing to provide ANY evidence of that, you then change the topic to tax level per capita of "in relation to where we used to be as a state has risen very quickly." You then change the years (cherry pick)to 1995-2005. Not what you argued." plenty

    Sorry, my point was made clearly, you changed the subject.

    Our taxes have gone up rapidly and the census data is not provided past 2005 - I didn't cherry pick their data, it's here:

    http://data.iowadatacenter.org/datatables/UnitedStates/usststtaxrank19931999.pdf

    and here:

    http://www.census.gov/govs/statetax/05staxrank.html

    The taxfoundation.org has other more recent data, but I'm sure you'd find fault with their numbers too since it's not the government ;)

    If you find any more current than 2005, be my guest!

  • Plenty Coups Mar 7, 2012

    westernwake-"The idea that the majority of teachers rank low in GPA, test scores, intelligence, or class rank is not correct by the way - no matter how often it has been pushed by those who oppose public school funding."

    Yes, I'm in complete agreement w/ you on this one. It's just another argument used by the public education haters to try to justify not funding it. :)

  • westernwake1 Mar 7, 2012

    "I have 2 degrees in Computer Science, Bach of S. an M.S.." - Rocky2.0

    'It was common knowledge at my university that Computer science degrees were a joke. (Two can play that game)' - Plenty Coups

    Back when I got my electrical engineering degree we viewed Comp Sci majors as pathetic jokes who did not have the intelligence to cut it with a real engineering degree and whose GPA's were so low they would did not qualify for admission to the Engineering college. Obviously these introverts spent all of their time playing dungeons & dragons, and not studying. Fortunately when they graduated we needed someone to load the punch cards into the mainframes -- so fortunately they got a job - except we had to fire the janitor who was previously doing the loading.

    Yep.... two can play this game. :)

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