Local News

District to Use Reserve Money for Year-Round School Conversions

Posted February 13, 2007

— A disagreement over money between Wake County commissioners and school board members will keep several year-round classrooms from opening in time for the start of next school year.

County commissioners withheld $4.7 million that school administrators said was needed to convert 22 traditional schools to year-round schedules and to move mobile classrooms to those schools.

School administrators said the year-round schools are needed to keep up with the district's booming enrollment.

The school board voted Tuesday to use money from its reserve fund to pay for the conversions and the mobile classrooms. But officials said the debate with the commissioners means that 22 of the 25 portable units won't be open in time for year-round classes to start in July.

The Board of Commissioners doesn't plan to block the district's attempt to shift funds to pay for the school conversions, Chairman Tony Gurley said.

"I would anticipate that we would not take action," Gurley said. "I'm not in favor of using taxpayer money to take legal action (against other boards)."

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  • oceanchild71 Feb 14, 2007

    The extra money needed is for the additional teachers and staff (Cafeteria, janitors, secretaries, administrators) as well as operating costs (lights, running the AC (when it works) in June, July, and August.

    One factor never mentioned is the additional wear-and-tear that will occur with these schools. The renovation schedule will have to be ramped up for these schools and students more than likely reassigned for one year about every 8 to 10 years in order to do major repairs that could not be done since the schools are continuously occupied (except for Christmas and July 4th).

    And plstockdale, for the record, I don't mind my kids going to school in a trailer if it means my family will be kept together. The BOE's tactic of removing existing trailers that provide seats and then saying that there are not enough seats is backhanded and stupid. That's like taking money out of your wallet and putting it in your pocket and saying you have no money! Talk about stubborness!

  • nosmo_king58 Feb 14, 2007

    Just curious - why is money needed to "convert" a school to year-round? What is needed to allow an existing facility to be open for three more months per year?

    I had three kids go through the year round program, but all are now in high school, so I no longer have "a dog is this fight".

  • oceanchild71 Feb 13, 2007

    I have written the BOE and CC again and again urging a compromise. There is a way to set up more yr schools, but in a way that is equitable and assures every family in the county has a choice. Each node would be assigned to two local schools of which one is a traditional calendar and one is yr. If they did a thorough survey, they could find what the true wants and needs are of the families in the system and be able to tweak this idea even more. However, the BOE is now taking it personally and are being pigheaded thinking that if they "give in" and don't convert all 22 schools, then they have "lost."

    Also, it is interesting the argument the BOE has used that they can do this conversion because it is a policy and the BOE does policy, the CC do the money thing. Policy in this case would be that yr increases student performance and that's why they are doing it. However, they have stated they must do it because of money. Can't have your cake and eat it too, BOE!!!

  • Here kitty kitty Feb 13, 2007

    Sorry...I should clarify. I wish my kids could have gone year round also! I voted for it. Leave the ones that are already year-round as they are. But forget the rest...then see how much yelling is done when there is no more room.

  • Not_So_Dumb Feb 13, 2007

    Nthomas, I don't know to whom you were directing your comments, but the reserve is an operational reserve, not a capital improvement one. If you read how the BoE moved the money you can see they are very aware that they cannot transfer money between the two. However, the fact remains that they are using an operational reserve for what they have previously deemed a capital expenditure.

    Also, the cost savings are illusory. 500 districts nationwide have found this to be the case and have abandoned the calendar. The theoretical enrollment at year round is almost impossible to reach, so you end up paying for 33% more school days but not having 33% more students.

  • superman Feb 13, 2007

    Excuse me, but everyone won't be happy. Lots of people like the year-round schools. I have neighbors with children and they are pleased with the schedule. I heard the traditional schools are more expensive than going year-round-- you have the extra money?

  • superman Feb 13, 2007

    Sorry- but you dont know anything about school finances. School boards cannot use the operational expenses for capital expenditures. They are two seperate budgets-- only the county commissioners can approve funds to be moved from one budget to another. I suggest you take a school finance course so you know what you talking about before you get all "huffy". The county commissioners are calling shots for the school board-- hope that makes you happy. You cant blame the school when the county is trying to control the operation of the schools. I dont have any children and I am paying school taxes too--I am retired so I dont have a direct interest in the school one way or the other. Just a concerned taxpayer. The reserve is most likely in their "Capital Outlay fund" which is for capital improvements -- trailers, roofs, buildings, heating systems etc.

  • Here kitty kitty Feb 13, 2007

    Here is my opinion to the School Board...drop the year-round and non-traditional calendars and stay on traditional. Let everyone stay where they are. Start rolling in trailers until there is no more room left. Of course that means no playground space. Sounds awful but at least everyone will be where they want to be, and they should be happy! Sooooooooo glad my son will graduate this year!!!!!!

  • Not_So_Dumb Feb 13, 2007

    This is just absurd. The Board loses more creditability with every new development. If they can legally pay for this with operational expenses, why was it part of the capital improvement bond? Was it just a ploy to get more money out of the taxpayers? Also, why was $12,542,053 written into the bond (aka for you and me to pay) when it turns out that they will do the conversion for under $3 million? Why can they only find savings when it is their own budget that is taking the hit? What about my budget? How many times has this happened before? How much better would the schools be if they were managed properly? This needs fixing now.