Local News

Wake teachers anxious over potential job losses

Posted March 7, 2009
Updated March 8, 2009

Wake County Public School System
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— The troubled economy and planned budget cuts have made some Wake County teachers worried about job security.

Superintendent Del 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 came into the school year about midway," Barwell Elementary School teacher Robin Fischl said.

Fischl moved to Wake County from Virginia and was hired to teach at Barwell Elementary School, 3925 Barwell Road in Raleigh. However, because she became employed after Dec. 1, her contract will expire at the end of the school year.

"In the past, when we've had terminating contracts come on board, we've always been able to say, 'If everything's fine, I'm going to hire you back,'" said Annice Williams, Barwell Elementary School principal.

However, that is not the case this year due to budget deficits at the state and county level. The school district could have a shortfall of about $40 million in the 2009-10 school year, Burns said.

Future uncertain for some Wake teachers Future uncertain for some Wake teachers

Of the approximately 100 people working at Barwell Elementary, 15 have terminating contracts, Williams said.

"There is the possibility that it (contract) will not renew and I will not have a job here," Fischl said.

Wake County school board members are considering 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.

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.

"That's a very significant impact. We're concerned about the teachers, but we're just as concerned about the possibility of not having support staff members available," Williams said.

Fischl said if her contract is not renewed, she hopes to find another job where she can make an impact on the lives of children.

“My job is to work with these students that are in my class this year and to help them progress, so they are ready for the next grade level," she said.

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.

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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  • footballrocks177 Mar 9, 2009

    Cutting athletic programs is not the answer to your children. The boosters would not be able to pay all of the coaches salaries; however, they can pay for equipment and other things. The Boosters are not banks and I have no idea where you get that thought.

  • Alexia.1 Mar 9, 2009

    Another solution is to cut pay. Apparently there are some 30,000 teachers/staff. If pay was cut $1333 per employee (average -- this could be a percentage of pay), that would also be $40M. No staff cuts! OK, you tell me what you'd prefer: throw people into the street or make a few sacrafices.

    Remember, too, that the more we throw people into the streets, the less tax. The problem only gets worse the next year.

  • WCPSS_Hater Mar 9, 2009

    Camm said "Money is not the answer - Quit WASTING,BUSING AND CATERING TO ILLEGALS!"

    It's those darn illegals and their catering needs, wasting our tax dollars. LOL

  • hoopster Mar 9, 2009

    There are some other ways to save money for the school system. For starters, for traditional schools, make it a four day work week with school being closed on Friday. Also, control the amount of money spent on interim principals and double dippers. The state spends thousands of dollars to bring in a retired principal and pay them at the top of the scale. This goes for retirees who are working full time after sitting out for six months. Even though you lose experience in the classroom, you gain youth and save $$$$. Is that not what we want?

  • delilahk2000 Mar 9, 2009

    well said camm

  • Citizen7265 Mar 9, 2009

    The jobs that should be cut in any district are those that DO NOT DEAL DIRECTLY with children. There are too many nonessential administrative jobs, as well as curriculum coaches/lead teachers, etc. who do not deal directly with students. While many of the services are nice to have, they are simply not necessary when compared to the need for qualified adults in the classrooms impacting students. There is too much waste in our current system.

  • news4u Mar 9, 2009

    Money is not the answer - Quit WASTING,BUSING AND CATERING TO ILLEGALS!

  • anneonymousone Mar 9, 2009

    My best thoughts are with you, djcnty8. It's hard enough to teach without wondering if you will still have a job next year, when the students' work proves so often how much teachers are needed.

    Someone remarked that subs would be brought in for teachers whose jobs are ended, and asked where the savings are. In actuality, there would not be more substitute teachers, but that bigger class sizes would be required. That means that a class of 26 may become a class of 28 or 30 students, which may not sound like a big difference until you're up in front of the class. Bigger class sizes save money, but do not pay off in terms of student learning, school environment, disciplinary difficulties, retention of good teachers, and staff morale.

  • kimberly1110 Mar 9, 2009

    The WCPSS job fair is a waste of time.

  • ncguy Mar 9, 2009

    Did the schools ever get their money back from the Bus scandel a few years back?

    I bet if they dug a little bit they would find a bunch of such cases.
    Too bad the good ole boy club will never let that happen because they are in cahoots as well.

    Since we are on bussing- how much money would be saved if they ditched their so called Diversity program and saved bus driver wages and gas.
    Oh they wouldn't get the Fed dollars if they did that. If you spend 2 dollars we will give you 3- what a scam!

    I won't even bring up Non US citizens going to our schools.

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