Local News

Wake schools look to cut millions from budget

Posted November 18, 2008

— State budget deficits are forcing schools to return $58 million in state funding.

In Wake County, the school system is being asked to return $5.4 million that the state had allocated to it.

“(It) sounds like a necessary step because of our present economy. My humble opinion is (that) this is just the beginning,” county school board member Ron Margiotta said.

A request by the Wake County manager to cut an additional $5.7 million in county funding means the school system will be facing $11 million in cuts.

County money accounts for a third of the school system's budget. The state supplies 61 percent, and the federal government provides 6 percent.

“This will not be easy because we are a lean organization,” Superintendent Del Burns said after a committee meeting Tuesday.

Burns said student population fell short of projected enrollment, which ended up costing the school system money.

“Ultimately, any reduction in our funding will have either a direct or indirect impact on classrooms and students,” Burns said.

Margiotta stopped short of saying jobs will be cut, but did say administrators should consider leaving some open positions unfilled.

The school system has to tell the state where it will make cuts by Dec. 19.

In July, the Wake County Board of Commissioners allotted the Wake County Public School System $319.2 million in the county budget for the 2008-2009 school year – nearly $36 million less than what the school board had requested.

In Wake County, the projected $17 million shortfall caused an across-the-board hiring freeze. County Manager David Cooke has also halted all travel by county employees, except for trips that had already been arranged.

Financial projections show sales tax collections in the county will be down about $6.5 million as people cut back on spending, Cooke said last month. A deflated housing market will likely result in the county collecting about $6.4 million less in deed stamps on real estate sales, he said.

The projected losses also include at least $3 million from the 3 percent budget cuts Gov. Mike Easley has ordered from state agencies, Cooke said.

On Oct. 21, Wake County commissioners decided to make an additional $80 million available for school projects that were shorted funds after the county was unable to sell bonds. Several weeks earlier, commissioners had voted to float a short-term, $300 million bond anticipation note to fund projects that had already started and to carry the county until the markets improved enough for a regular bond sale.

Officials said the $80 million, which would have been used for funding later in the building process, meant that multiyear assignment plans could be handed out. The money also funded a program to computers and technology up to date.

15 Comments

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  • gnew46 Nov 18, 2008

    Everyone else is having to make across the Board cuts in this down economy. No entity should be sacrosant.

  • bs101fly Nov 18, 2008

    you lost souls who STILL but into the LOTTERY LIE need to get some coffee!
    It was, is and will always be the LIE that was given to the public like a thief in the night!
    Oh Tom will tell how how great it is and how much Wake County gets from it, but ask him to show you PROOF of one thing it has done!
    He can however show you his fat bank account!

  • Fun Nov 18, 2008

    Wait! You mean schools could have been operating with less money all along? Public aka Government schools a money pit.

  • JAFOinWF Nov 18, 2008

    Maybe we should get Bev Purdue to give us the lottery....Oh wait! She did already in the middle of the night. So, we is the money then?

  • whatelseisnew Nov 18, 2008

    They get money based on number of students. Two years running now they have had fewer students than they projected. They should have given that money back already anyway. They are far from being a lean organization. The public sector needs to wake up and get serious about doing far more with far less. Cut staff and tell those remaining they have to step up or go find work elsewhere. If they are smart, they will cut three times the amount they are talking about cutting.

  • thewayitis Nov 18, 2008

    Everybody else is cutting back -- the schools need to, too. I agree with another poster. Stop the forced bussing and save millions.

  • flyguync Nov 18, 2008

    Wait a minute! Where is all the money from the lottery?

  • bs101fly Nov 18, 2008

    too bad fuel prices have dropped like a rock, or these idiots would be in REAL trouble!
    Welcome to reality school board, it's your turn to make cuts!
    Teachers aren't your priority so let 'em all go and find some new ones who don't know anything and will work for chump change!
    It's the way of education in Wake County,
    make the teachers pay, after all, this is all their faults isn't it!

  • Student Nurse Nov 18, 2008

    Oh hey! It is the quarterly Wake County Schools is too poor report!

  • injameswetrust2003 Nov 18, 2008

    "... we are a lean system..." Don't forget the millions of dollars spent on forced busing. Sounds like a lot of fat to me.

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