Cary, N.C. — Parents protested about the Wake County school district's new student assignment plan outside a school board meeting Tuesday, but board members and other district leaders were focused on the budget.
The district has to shave more than $24 million from next year's budget, even though it has $34 million sitting in a rainy day fund.
Superintendent Tony Tata plans to ask the Wake County Board of Commissioners for $9 million to help close the budget gap, but that has not been finalized. In fact, some commissioners have expressed doubt that the county will be able to provide that kind of money in a tight budget year.
But board members remain optimistic.
"I will cross my fingers and toes that commissioners want a first-class system," board Chair Kevin Hill said.
About $1 million from the rainy day fund has already been allocated to help with next year's budget, but the district's Chief Business Officer David Neter said taking any more of those reserves to plug the funding hole would be unwise.
"It would be irresponsible not to maintain a fund balance," Neter said.
The board is expected to vote on the budget May 8.
Meanwhile, parents again filled the public comment portion of the meeting with complaints about student assignment. They say the new assignment policy is more of a lottery than a choice-based plan.
On Thursday, parents who participated in the second round of assignment selection will learn where their children are assigned for the 2012-13 school year.