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Funding gap will hurt Wake students, school board says

Posted June 17, 2008

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— School leaders said Tuesday that a $36 million gap in the Wake County Board of Education's 2008-2009 budget will have a negative affect on the quality of education students receive.

"There will be an impact on services provided to students," Wake schools Superintendant Del Burns said. "If we eliminate programs that are designed to help students learn, of course, there will be an impact on achievement."

The Wake County Board of Commissioners, on Monday, allotted the school system $319.2 million in its $984 million budget – a move that school board members say was frustrating, shocking and disappointing.

"We're going backwards," school board member Kevin Hill said. "We're going backwards. Make no mistake about it. I am surprised at the commissioners about this budget."

But commissioners say they cannot provide funding that they don't have.

"It's part of the growing pains we are facing here and tough times," Wake County Commissioner Lindy Brown said.

The school system had asked for $355.5 million – about $330 million to provide for the current level of services in programs and another $25 million to expand and start new programs, such as literary coaching, foreign language programs in elementary schools, services for academically gifted students and other initiatives.

Many of those new programs must go, board members said. The board is expected to meet again early next week to decide where to cut funding in existing programs.

"To have a system like we have that is a shining example in North Carolina and in the nation, and put that in jeopardy – I think that just amazes us all," school board member Patti Head said.

About $3 million of the $319 million will go into a reserve account and will only be available if the school system reaches its anticipated growth of 6,000 students next year.

At least one county commissioner has said the school system should return $6.5 million of the 2007-2008 budget that was meant to help offset costs related to a growing student population. But the school system overestimated by about 2,000 students.

In addition, the Board of Commissioners must approve any budget item change for the 2008-2009 calendar that is more than 15 percent of its projected spending.

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  • bs101fly Jun 17, 2008

    something2say,
    the $$ they got last year were wasted on converting schools to year round that WERE NOT WANTED OR NEEDED, are under enrolled and schools whose operational costs are 25-35% MORE, even though they've lied to us and told us that is not the case!!!

  • bs101fly Jun 17, 2008

    dshell,
    you should educate yourself on what they've done with those bonds dollars from the past. it's not about biting a bullet, it's more about taking one if you're a parent in wake county WITH a child being shuffled around for diversity's sake.
    it's the gullible like you who've passed the bonds in the past.
    it's folks like me who are FED UP and will see to it the next bunch of them DO NOT PASS!!

  • whatelseisnew Jun 17, 2008

    dshell99

    what you are failing to see is that the school system is floundering. They are providing an extremely poor education to the children. The state keeps shifting around on standards in an attempt to hide how bade it is. In Wake County they are busing kids around in an attempt to hide the fact they have a large percentage of kids they can not teach. It is all spin to try to cover up just how bad they are doing. It is not entirely the systems fault, but a lot of it is. I do not care how much money you pour into this system. It will not improve. It is far too political and the only thing they are trying to do is keep the system alive.
    bs101fly - you are correct; unfortunately I can only vote against one incumbent. I have been amazed over the years to watch Wake County education deteriorate, yet many of the same board members get elected year after year. They have no budget hole. They manufactured it. NO MORE BONDS. NO MORE TAXES.

  • something2say Jun 17, 2008

    Wake Forest Admin waste more money on needless staff than one can even amagine! Sadly most of that staff are educators who did not cut it out in the field!

    Way to go County Commissioners, force the School Board to show you they care about the students by cutting back on non-essentials like admin staff, not teacher supplies or anything that would hurt students. The School Board should know that people are watching and want this board to spend wisely in crunch times! What happened to the extra money you got last year? Hm.... did you spend it all in the last months of school just to show it was spend? Hmm.... that doesn't happen does it????

  • dshell99 Jun 17, 2008

    it's all very easy to solve this: bite the bullet and pass the bonds. pay the taxes. look to your community for other ways to enhance your child's education. libraries come to mind. as does the scouts, 4H, camp fire girls, YMCA, etc. and always keep this in mind: every penny you spend on your child's education is an investment in the future. the future that will take care of you and choose your nursing home. you want it to be a nice one, RIGHT?! yeah, that's what i thought. private education only helps those that can pay for it. i'm more then willing to tighten my belt and pay the taxes to make sure EVERY CHILD has a chance. i'm not gonna leave something like THIS to chance!

  • thewayitis Jun 17, 2008

    Programs "such as literary coaching, foreign language programs in elementary schools, services for academically gifted students and other initiatives" are not essential. They are good, but not essential. Elementary students especially do not need to be learning foreign languages -- they need to learn English, and when they have a good grasp of English, and can write and spell in English, then they can learn foreign languages...Most kids do not have a solid grip on English before Middle School. And many don't even have it then....

  • bs101fly Jun 17, 2008

    this school board is NOTHING except blamers and liars! Blame it on someone else and lie about the facts. Don't dare cut busing or the MYR schools that are under crowded and where costs are a LOT more than they were before the communist agenda shoved in our faces took hold. Just continue lying to all the dumb dumbs here and they'll believe you, the boe, are doing your best.
    Some of us KNOW better!!!
    That's why bond support will be as strong as CC's support of YOUR agendas!
    NOT AT ALL!!!!

  • mep Jun 17, 2008

    I noticed the headline says this funding gap will hurt the students.... shouldnt it hurt office supplies, administration, maintenance, and bus services first? If more kids walked to their closest school instead of being bussed all over town... how much would that save? I'm convinced these folks running the schools are not interested in saving, but rather spending all that they have and wanting more. I have to tighten my budget... not eating out, no movies, no beach trips... maybe less fluff like sports, music class, art, ect... and more history, math, science, and such is in order.

  • Vietnam Vet Jun 17, 2008

    Well said, FloydTurbo!! I haven't seen a public school system yet that is good for anything but wasting money like any government entity or contractor, and I used to work for a defense contractor, and I've seen the waste. I'm married to a teacher in Wake County and see the schools spending money everywhere but where it counts. Teachers have to buy their own supplies out of pocket and hope to get a little help from the PTA for these expenses. My grandmother was a teacher decades ago and was faced with some of the same problems. Nothing changes! And every year they come back to the County looking for more money to waste, and under the guise of growth they always seem to get the money they want. Where does it end? It doesn't. I believe Ronald Reagan said something along the line of: If you ever want to see an example of eternal life, just look at a government program...(paraphrased)

  • bs101fly Jun 17, 2008

    whatelseisnew,
    how do you keep trying to vote them out? you can only vote for 1 of them and that doesn't happen every year.

    you don't need to make a list, just know WHO you can vote for. there's only one, thanks to higher government!

    don't make #'s up, or other stuff some of you don't know a thing about, WakeCares is the best thing that has happened in this county in a loooong time. No one else seems to want to hold this corrupt bunch of so-called educators accountable!!! especially if you have voted to approve bonds in the past!
    If you don't agree you're simply not current on fact or you have no child in the system OR you work for Jim Goodnight!

    Wake County gets 7 WHOLE million from the lottery EVERY YEAR! That is IT! It would do a great deal in my or your bank account, but it won't build a 1/3rd of 1 small school!

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