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Wake County teachers worry about budget cuts

Posted November 18, 2008
Updated November 19, 2008

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— The economic outlook for Wake County schools has gone from bad to worse. The system is being asked to return $5.4 million that the state had allocated to it. That means teachers could have to do with less.

"Somewhere along the line, it may not be a great public education for every child," said Tama Bouncer, teacher at Swift Creek Elementary School.

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.

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

Bouncer, a teacher and Vice President of the North Carolina Association of Educators in Wake County, said she is worried there will be losses in classroom supplies and employee benefits.

"That may become an issue,” she said.

There is also the possibility of layoffs. School board members are shy about that kind of talk at the moment. However, the money crunch could mean freezing open positions.

“Now, how many dollars that will accommodate is questionable. Beyond that, you are going to have to look for reductions wherever they are necessary,” county school board member Ron Margiotta said.

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,” Burns said

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.

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.


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  • cameragirl Nov 19, 2008

    Paul Revere I agree with you. If they look at the County Office they could take lots of cuts there and not be noticed. Our school leaders like to spend, spend, spend. It's about time that they learn what the rest of the general public have - cut expenses, less luxuries and tighter budgets for the necessities of life such as electricity, mortgage payments, fuel, etc.

  • DJ of Clayton Nov 19, 2008

    The school system has to bite the bullet just like everyone else in county government. Everyone, from the sheriff's department to EMS to the health department has to tighten up. Deal with it. Be creative. Try to come up with something other than "Gimme, gimme, gimme".

  • ONEHARDHEAD Nov 19, 2008

    Welcome to the real world, school systems. Now that the election is over, you don't have politicians pandering to you to get votes, and you're crying about the same things the rest of us have been going through for some time now. This sounds like another excuse for legislators to raise our taxes again, doesn't it Bev?

  • Beachnut Nov 19, 2008

    It's interesting that the term "layoff", in the context of government workers such as teachers, actually means "hiring freeze". No one is actually let go, they just slow hiring for awhile. Not that i wish anyone to lose their job, it's just that i think it quite possible that, like the private sector, government agencies may need to reduce staff to stay within their dwindling budgets. But then again maybe it will be easier to just raise taxes!

  • PaulRevere Nov 19, 2008

    Laugh line of the day: “This will not be easy because we are a lean organization,” Burns said.

  • bs101fly Nov 19, 2008

    man, there are still some REALLY dumb people around.
    lottery NEVER was going to save education and actually does almost NOTHING for it! can't you figure that out on your own?

    teachers SHOULD be worried! from the mouth of Patti Head, "teachers are a dime a dozen, those that don't want to deal with OUR agendas can leave because we have plenty more waiting to get in."
    "everyone want to teach in Wake County, we're the MOST desirable system on the planet"

    many of you will be let go or your pay cut deeply, or your teacher assistant let go, or you'll teach another track on your 3 weeks off time ...

    either way, if MY boss treated me like YOURS does you, I would've walked a LONG time ago!

  • missparrothead Nov 19, 2008

    What happened to N.C.'s EDUCATION LOTTERY?

    The North Carolina mafia is at it again. What a bunch of absolute crooks.

  • garnertoy Nov 19, 2008

    I thought the lottery money was to be helping the schools

  • Hevans1012 Nov 19, 2008

    Totally agree with you fromRaleigh! Make the cuts at the top and non necessary, duplicated positions.

  • shellbelle Nov 19, 2008

    I agree that the school system needs to prioritize it's cuts... it's top heavy and that's where they need to focus first.

    But even though this article focuses on Teachers..... ALL State Agencies are required to CUT funding. So, it's not just the teachers that are put into a tough situation - many other areas will suffer because of the budget issues.