Wake County Schools

Wake boards meet in joint session over school budget

Posted March 29, 2012

— The Wake County Board of Education and the Wake County Board of Commissioners met together Thursday to talk about the school system's proposed $1.25 billion budget for the 2012-13 school year and how much the county will be able to contribute.

Wake County School Budget Superintendent's proposed budget

Superintendent Tony Tata's spending plan calls for nearly $9 million more in funding from the county – a 2.8-percent increase over the current budget. In recent years, the amount the county has allocated for the school system has remained unchanged.

Although commissioners have said they are willing to listen to Tata, they are not sure how much more they will be able to give since the commission's top priority for next year is not to raise taxes.

In an interview with WRAL News last week, Tata called his budget proposal "very solid."

"We're going to lay out our case and show that we have cut to the marrow of Wake County public schools, and we're going to present a case that we need that (extra) $8.8 million to invest in our people so that, in the fourth year of a very tough recession, we don’t have people walking away from us because some other places are providing higher pay or better options," he said.

Tata's budget, which calls for a 1 percent raise for teachers and a one-time bonus for most other school employees, takes into account cost increases due to an estimated additional 3,500 students and five new schools opening next year.

"We've taken our non-personnel budget as far down as we can," David Neter, the school system's chief business officer, said Thursday.

There are no proposed layoffs or job cuts and no changes to school and classroom staffing formulas.

Wake boards meet in joint session over school budget Wake boards meet in joint session over school budget

The budget is $24.3 million less than last year, partly because of $28 million in expiring grants and an $8.7 million cut in state funding. Tata has said he plans to fill the gap and account for growing needs by using $28 million of the district's savings as well as the additional funding from the county.

Commissioners expressed concern about whether the district would be able to replenish its savings by next year, saying it was only "kicking the can down the road," meaning that, at some point, the district would have to make more cuts to programs and services and personnel.

The school board is accepting public feedback on the budget on the district's website. It's expected to formally vote on it next month.

Tata also presented to both boards a venture into a partnership with Wake Technical Community College that would open a vocational high school at an old Coca-Cola plant in downtown Raleigh.

The potential Career and Technical Education High School would open in 2013 and be housed in a 101,700 square-foot building on 15.8 acres of land at 2200 S. Wilmington St.

About 700 high school students would be able to take courses in 10 areas, including biopharmaceuticals, collision repair, heating and air-conditioning, nursing assistant, electronics, plumbing, simulation game development and welding.

In the evenings and on the weekends, the building would be used for adult classes.

Students would be able to earn college credit at the same time they are working toward their high school diploma.

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  • Naysayer Mar 29, 2012

    Lot's of room for cuts in the budget. We should start with some of the low return on investment items such as:
    1) Disadvantaged Students Supplemental Funding
    2) At-Risk Student Services/Alternative Programs and Schools 3) Limited English Proficiency
    4) And last but not least, Bev's pet Project, Tax payer funded babysitting, Smart Start

  • FitnessMan Mar 29, 2012

    I'm usally against raising taxes. I am a fiscal conservative that is usually for spending cuts, less tax, etc. But I have seen how the school system is going down with less teachers, TA's etc. I am not a wealthy man, but a 1 cent sales tax increase is not going to kill me for a year or two. However it will affect me (or you) if a wife, husband, etc losses a job. So personal, I am willing to lose $20-$30 a month so that any family (including my own) does not have to deal with a job loss and more teachers, etc for our kids. The school systems's are horrible anyway b/c of the horrible job parents are doing with kids

  • ezLikeSundayMorning Mar 29, 2012

    Let the school system get worse over time and people will discover how much education does affect them. The quality of an area's schools affects property values, companies' decisions about where to locate (jobs), the productivity of our future workers, and all of our future quality of life.

    Not raising taxes is a constraint, not a goal in and of itself. I'm not even saying its a bad contstraint. I want them to think long and hard before they raise taxes, but some things are worth it and political party should not trump what's best for the county.

  • ecualumni1982 Mar 29, 2012

    The public schools budget grows every year, yet we get the same pitiful results 5-9% of kids going to college.And the stats get worse as you move into the rural counties. We already know that multiple other countries are spanking us in every measurable category and operate on far, far less of a budget than we currently pay for, so why can't we simply copy the operational model of Germany, Japan, Holland, etc? Superintendant, look to your neighbors paper and copy their answers; in the immortal words of my 3rd grade teacher, its better to cheat than repeat, and in this case tax us to death.

  • Sunc Mar 29, 2012

    "we have been taught to be an entitlement society."
    edlmc

    I guess that is one way to look at it. Another would be that it takes a village to raise a child. I have paid property taxes for 15 years in wake county, yet I have no children. Part of my taxes go to pay for community pools and parks that I do not use very often. Another part of my taxes go to pay for a fire department that I have never had to use and a police force that has limited contact with me. Does that make me angry?? No, it is called being a responsible member of society and understanding that we are doing things for the common good of our community. You want to talk about being a member of an entitlement society, look at your second sentence, "Over half of the tax payers in Wake County do not have kids in schools at this point in time, so lets make them pay it." In other words, if it doesn't benefit me, why should I have to pay to support it, talk about a member of an entitlement society!

  • chargernut69 Mar 29, 2012

    Gee, it's the Bev Perdue motto.... increase spending, raises for teacher, etc. Oh -- guess we need to raise taxes !

    Wake up school board ! CUT SPENDING !

  • jlp Mar 29, 2012

    The superintendent is a conservative Republican. He wrote the budget. You may want to get your facts straight before you spout off next time edlmc.

  • edlmc Mar 29, 2012

    Wake County School board is in lock step with the rest of the liberals, the anwser is to always raise taxes. Over half of the tax payers in Wake County do not have kids in schools at this point in time, so lets make them pay it. What they should do is charge each child $100 a year that goes to the public schools, that way those who benefit from it are helping to pay for some of it, again, we have been taught to be an entitlement society.