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Wake school board cuts budget, moves funds

Posted December 2, 2008

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— The Wake County School Board passed a budget reduction proposal on Tuesday in an effort to accommodate a combined $11 million cut in state and county funding.

The proposal included cuts of $1 million for classroom and instructional supplies and $950,000 for vehicle replacements and bus purchases.

"Anytime you cut back, it is going to have an impact,” board member Patti Head said.

The school system is allotted $90 a student, and the cuts amount to approximately $7.25 less being spent on each child.

The proposal also outlines other sources of funds to offset reduced income:

  • Appropriating $2 million left over from the Capital Outlay fund
  • More than $3 million in savings due to under-enrollment.
  • $490,000 from lapsed salaries from vacant positions in the Academically and Intellectually Gifted and Career and Technical Education departments.
  • A carryover of $998,000 for last year’s At-Risk programs
  • $750,000 left over from the School Technology Fund
  • $1.7 million from freezing out-of-state travel, reducing expense budgets at the Central Services, by 3 percent and increasing Central Services' position freeze from 60 to 90 days.

The board was trying to find cuts to accommodate nearly $5.5 million less in state money and $5.7 million less in county funding.

"When looking at savings, we went on a line-by-line basis,” said David Neter, Wake County Schools financial officer.

On Monday, the new Wake County Board of Commissioners asked the district to cut its budget by $5.7 million.

"I am sorry to see that the budget cuts are having to be made, but I have complete confidence in the school system and the school board to make the appropriate decisions with regard to where the cuts will occur," said Sarah Martin, president of the Wake County PTA Council.

Superintendent Del Burns asked the commissioners for fiscal leniency, noting the district already has had to give back about $5.5 million in state funding because of a growing state budget deficit.

"We do not have anywhere we can pull money from except from the classroom,” said Rosa Gill, the board's chairwoman.

County officials said they would work with the district, but noted that tough decisions need to be made to balance the budget. County departments have already been asked to look for ways to cut 4 percent this year and 10 percent next year.

32 Comments

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  • saltnsanddefenderofdamiddleclass Dec 3, 2008

    End the IT in any school other than high school. then, as a requirement to graduate have the seniors take an computer course. the recent articles here on PROVIDING LAPTOPS have highlighted that computers have become a very expensive crutch. To highlight, when I asked about correcting spelling in handwritten papers I was told we don't worry about that because in the future they have "spell check."

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 3, 2008

    memered: we can only hope you're not a teacher! LOL

  • T-Man Dec 3, 2008

    I agree w/ most of what you said Steve, but the Assistants are only for grade 2 and below. These classes need the assts to help the kids develop. If more parents were actually parenting the assts would not be as needed as they are.

  • tank1234 Dec 3, 2008

    WELL THE CLASSES TO NEED AIDS. IT GIVES THE TEACHER TO TAKE
    UP MORE TIME WITH A CHILD THAT IS BEHIND. OR SHOULD WE JUST INGORE THAT CHILD.

  • tank1234 Dec 3, 2008

    WELL I WORK FOR WCPSS. OUR SALARY SUCKS. EVERONE COMPLAINS
    ABOUT THE SCHOOLS. WELL WE NEED MONEY MAKE THE SCHOOLS NICE.
    PEOPLE CALL IN MY CHILD CLASSROOM IS TO HOT OR TO COLD. COME ON PEOPLE WHEN WE WHERE IN SCHOOL WE RAISED WINDOWS. ALSO PEOPLE WANT KIDS TO GO TO A CLOSER SCHOOL. WELL SOMETIMES THAT MEANS ARE
    OVER CROWED. YOU CAN HAVE IT BOTH WAYS.

  • ContinuityMan Dec 3, 2008

    Well said, Steve. The district also needs to back teachers up when they boot disruptive kids out of their classes. Too many parents scream up a storm when their little darlings are held accountable for their actions. A soft school district is an expensive luxury item.

  • Mommyoftwo Dec 3, 2008

    hkypky - The statement is Rosa Gill's way of saying that adminsitrative positions won't be cut and to cause panic in the county that our children's education will suffer terribly because of these cuts. I am thinking that somewhere along the way they are going to "recommend" an additional bond or tax hike to cover expenses. What I find amazing is that they say they are cutting close to a million dollars for transportation and buses. How many busses were they planning to buy?? Especially since the school system doesn't own the busses...DPI does!!! And then DPI replaces the old busses with new ones FOR FREE!!!!

    Maybe new county commissioners will help...one can only hope!

  • TechRescue Dec 3, 2008

    When real businesses have plenty of work but costs are too high, they do the cutting where it does not affect the quality of the product - in "overhead" personnel who are not involved in production. However, this is an unacceptable option for the bloated bureaucracy of Wake County Schools. Besides, making the children suffer gets more publicity, similar to Clinton closing the Washington Monument when he didn't get the budget he wanted.

    You might as well go on and bend over.... You voted for Elitism, bloat, and corruption, and you got it!

  • Garnerwolf1 Dec 3, 2008

    But isn't the purpose to save money? Building reform schools is not doing that. And while I certainly agree that the legal system is too 'easy' on criminals in this country, building prisons also comes from the taxpayer's dime, and putting kids into that system is likely to only generate lifelong criminals (not that they're not heading down that path anyway). My point in all of this is that simply tossing troublemakers out of school may ultimately not help the school system's budget which is the point of the story.

  • Steve Crisp Dec 3, 2008

    Garnerwolf:

    A disruptive kid is one who requires the need for a school resource officer in the first place. And what to do with them? It's called reform schools, run in a quasi-military fashion until you break them and build them back up. If that doesn't work, we have things called prison that work well.

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