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Wake school board pores over budget for cuts

Posted March 5, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— Wake County school board members on Thursday examined the school district's budget line by line to find ways to cut costs.

Budget deficits at the state and county level mean the district could have a shortfall of about $40 million in the 2009-10 school year, Superintendent Del Burns said.

Wake County school board Tough choices considered on school budget

"We've always tried to be efficient, but now we may have to take measures that some may think (are) extreme," Burns said.

Board members looked at various money-saving measures, including increasing class sizes to reduce the number of teachers needed, eliminating some high school electives and ordering employees to do away with personal heaters, fans and coffee makers to cut electricity costs.

"It's going to be a tough choice," Chairwoman Rosa Gill said.

Until state lawmakers and county commissioners can set their budgets, Burns has ordered principals to fill no more than 95 percent of their openings. That means as many as 1,500 teachers and school employees whose contracts expire at the end of June could lose their jobs.

"I am not sure of how many of those we're going to be able to hire back. It just depends on our state allotment," Gill said.

The school district also plans to keep in place a hiring freeze on administrative positions, and Burns said $11 million in state and local cuts made in December also would become permanent.

Burns' budget proposal for the 2009-10 school year includes no increase in county funds from the $316 million provided this school year.

District administrators expect 2,300 new students to enroll in area schools next fall, meaning per-student spending would drop from $2,218 to $2,182.

"It is likely there will be larger class sizes. It is likely the level of services provided will change. We may have to eliminate some services," Burns said.

The school board plans to have several more budget workshops in the coming weeks before Burns submits his budget request to county commissioners in May.


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  • ncguy Mar 6, 2009

    They sure could use that money that went for fuel last year because of their "diversity" program.

    Hard to be liberal when you have no cash!

  • djcnty8 Mar 6, 2009

    The cuts are real! They do now know what positions are going to be available next year. And whatever positions that are available will be given to those that have been with the school system the longest. That is what I was told this morning when I was informed that I would mostly likely not be back.

    I hope you enjoy your pay raise Dr. Burns.

  • ncguy Mar 6, 2009

    1 out of every 5 kindergartners is a child of an illegal alien.

    While I feel for these kids, but it is not our responsibility to feed them for free and educate them for free- that is for American citizens.
    Yes I realize that since they were born here they are automatically a citizen- there lies the biggest problem!!!

  • djcnty8 Mar 6, 2009

    WCPSS "Economic Hurricane" solution:

    1. Stop bussing kids 20+ miles away from home.
    2. End year round schooling.
    3. Freeze all pay raises until the economy is stable.

  • paigeykins Mar 6, 2009

    Well... for those that thought it was a fear tactic, I can tell you from personal experience, the firings have begun. Family members out of jobs and husband on the chopping block..

  • carolinagirl75 Mar 5, 2009

    I am amazed at how those who are so quick to offer criticism and advice are so ill-informed about how schools are run and the facts about policies, procedures, etc. that affect the education of Wake County students. A little more information could lead to a more productive discussion.

    btw, the use of "pores" is correct.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 5, 2009

    Wait till they see the electric costs after the Obama Cap and Trade scam goes into effect. My advise is they need to figure out how to start shutting down schools.

  • grayboomerang Mar 5, 2009

    Note to Speedy.

    I do not feed internet trolls, sorry.

  • injameswetrust2003 Mar 5, 2009

    jh, I am sorry to hear that you are in that position. I have several good friends who work for the school system (everyone around here probably does) and it is wrong that one or two admins (Burns and Delaney) have so much power over so many people's lives. I hope that the school board will monitor Burns' actions and keep him in line.

  • speedy Mar 5, 2009

    Sorry, no. Just thought you'd like to delete your own post to save yourself from further embarrassment.

    It does make a good demonstrative in support of past waste/poor administration in the Wake system.