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Wake school board does budget math

Posted May 20, 2008
Updated May 21, 2008

Wake County Public School System
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— A day after learning the proposed Wake County budget funds about one-third of their requested increase for next year, school board members met Tuesday to begin thinking about what to cut.

County Manager David Cooke on Monday recommending giving the school system an extra $18.5 million for the 2008-09 year as part of his $983.4 million budget proposal that included a small tax increase. The additional money would raise the county's support for area schools to $319.2 million.

School district administrators in March requested an extra $35 million from the county for next year to fund new schools and enrollment increases. They later said they expected growth in the county's tax base would fund about half of that amount.

Last month, the school board tacked another $19 million onto the budget request, saying they wanted to fund gang prevention and literacy programs and undertake other initiatives.

"Just to keep (the schools) running, we need the $35 million (requested)," school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill said. "(Getting) $18 million more is not sufficient for us."

The school board and the county's Board of Commissioners planned to meet Wednesday to discuss the budget and other issues.

If the commissioners don't budge on the budget, Gill said, the school board will face some tough decisions in the coming weeks as they try to balance their budget before the beginning of the new fiscal year July 1.

"(It comes down to) whether we cut services to the kids or cut benefits for the employees," she said.

District spokesman Michael Evans said the latter is more likely to happen, noting 82 percent of the district's budget goes to salaries and benefits.

"Although it's very emotional, very testy at times, that's where you can make the biggest balancing effort in the shortest amount of time," Evans said.

District administrators gave the board a list of ways it could cut the budget when it outlined its $35 million request in March. Suggestions included scaling back dental benefits and some raises.

"To cut our dental insurance or anything that they have threatened with would certainly be a blow to teachers," said Jennifer Lanane, president of Wake NCAE, an affiliate of the North Carolina Association of Educators.


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  • Fun May 21, 2008

    One elementary teacher tells me her school has 350 students and 50 staff. That 7 children per staff member. Why not have 23 teachers or 15 kids in classroom. Then 1 principal, 1 assistant, 2 secretarys and 2 custodians. For a total of 29 total staff?? A 42% reduction in head count. Seems wasteful to me. Bet the "glass palace administration" is even more wasteful!

  • poohperson2000 May 21, 2008

    Well rising gas prices have to be a major budget factor. Look at how to cut there, look at landscaping costs, how to cut water/ power consumption, how to build less schools (ummm Year Round!), and how to eliminate the fat of administration. My son's YR school has a principal and two assistants. Are two assistant principals really needed??

  • lovemykids May 21, 2008

    We need to remove all the people on the School Board and start over, cutting teachers benefits - that is horrible. It's bad enough they don't pay them much and now cutting their benefits. They need to have kids go to the school closest to their homes also... My son passes 4 schools just to go to his assigned school - that is ridiculous. Why are they wasting so much money?

  • WHEEL May 21, 2008

    If the School Board really wants to cut costs which is doubtfull, start by firing half of the Central Office staff. They don't teach anything and they don't produce anything except useless paperwork which they send back and forth to each other. When taxpayers see the savings after one year, they will fire the other half.

  • 2headstrong May 20, 2008

    I'd be more sympathetic about their dental insurance, but most people I know don't even have it to begin with.

  • howdiditgettothis May 20, 2008

    Sure - here's the weblink for salary information (WCPSS payroll & finances)


    I agree with other posters. Do what any other business would be doing with such ridiculous accounting practices.



  • Another Perspective May 20, 2008

    I wonder how much of this increase is going to fuel that this board needs to bus these kids all over the county instead of to a local school. I have no sympathy for them at this point. Product of their or stupidity.

  • moreupset May 20, 2008

    The school board is worse at math than the students graduating from the system.

  • IceCreamMan May 20, 2008

    More students + more schools = the need for more $$$

    Please remember that this is a negotiation, and it only makes sense for the school board to ask for more and threaten cuts in wages to get their way.

  • AX May 20, 2008

    Get a new board, Outsource administration and contract transportation. I notice handicapp students are already being transportated by slow driving Ford Taurus station wagons and little white busses. If we can afford to contract for them, we can also do it for other students like its done in other states.