Local News

Wake school board adopts budget; passes new schedule

Posted March 31, 2009
Updated April 1, 2009

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County Board of Education approved next year’s total budget of $1.7 billion during a meeting Tuesday. The board also agreed to dismiss public school students an hour early each Wednesday starting in July to allow more planning time for teachers.

Wake school board adopts $1.7B budget Wake school board adopts $1.7B budget

The operating budget, including $115,000 in additional cuts, passed with a 6-to-2 vote. The board will reduce school bus purchases from 17 to 13, postpone hiring for a new school on Forestville Road in northeast Wake County and remove board member fee increases.

Superintendent Del Burns also agreed not to take his contracted 3-percent salary increase – about $8,100 – to help with the budget. Burns is paid around $280,000 yearly.

"In this time of uncertainty, certainly I need to do, as we all do, our part and it is important to me to make that decision," Burns said.

Burns' budget proposal for the 2009-10 school year includes no increase in county funds from the $316 million provided this school year. However, the district will add three new schools and 2,300 more students.

The board budget now goes to the Board of Commissioners who will approve a county budget and establish the county tax rate for 2009-10 that will include the school system operating budget. But commissioners might offer less money to the school system due to a projected budget shortfall of at least $23 million.

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 has made last year's $11 million in state and local cuts permanent.

Burns has ordered principals to fill no more than 95 percent of their openings. That means some of the nearly 1,500 teachers and school employees whose contracts expire at the end of June could lose their jobs.

No decision on those jobs will be made "until we know exactly where we stand with our state funding, our county funding, and with our federal funding,” board member Beverly Clark said.

Some parents with children at Leesville Middle School told board members reversing a decision to convert from a traditional calendar to a year-round schedule could save $250,000.

"This savings could prevent other possible cuts, such as staff positions or programs for at-risk children,” parent Eric Blau said.

However, board member Patti Head said those savings may be inflated and that the change is necessary.

"The campus as a whole is overcrowded. By going to a year-round calendar at the middle school, we can accommodate more students,” Head said.

New 2009-10 school schedule approved

The school board also approved a new 2009-10 school schedule on Tuesday that adds 10 minutes to the school day and provides one hour early dismissal on Wednesdays. On six of those Wednesdays, school will release 2.5 hours early.

The change aims to give teachers more instructional time to help improve academic performance.

Under the new schedule, elementary schools that start at 7:45 a.m. would end 10 minutes later at 2:25 p.m. The majority of elementary schools would start 10 minutes earlier at 9:05 a.m. Schools that currently start at 8:30 a.m. would start at 8:20 a.m.

Middle schools that begin at 7:30 a.m. would end 10 minutes later at 2:25 p.m. Middle schools that start at 8:15 a.m. would begin 10 minutes earlier at 8:05 a.m.

High schools that start at 7:25 a.m. would end 10 minutes later at 2:25 p.m. Schools that start at 8:05 a.m. would begin 10 minutes earlier at 7:55 a.m.

School schedule change

Do you agree with the proposal to release Wake County schools an hour early once a week? 
proposal to release Wake County schools an hour early once a week? " /> Yes. It benefits students and teachers.
No. Varied schedules inconvenience families.

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  • mwalker Apr 2, 2009

    First of all I believe that teachers are NOT being paid what they should be. These kids are the future and if they are not educated they are in for a rough life. I am also from the North and coming down here and looking into the schools I was shocked to see how low the test scores are. I don't understand why on top of all the early release days and teacher work days now they want to release kids early on wed. as well. As a parent I am trusting that the school will provide my child with the proper education to succeed. I can not recall teacher work days when I was growing up and my teachers did an excellent job. It does inconvience parents to have them released early as we do have to work to support our families. I wish the teachers were paid more so I don't have to worry if my child is getting the best education.

  • Chris_H Apr 1, 2009

    NC Teacher Understood - but I hate to say I work for a large computer CO and most of us do not go out for lunch, take it at our desks because that's what it takes to do the job and stay employed. That being said I admire most teacher's, what you do and how you do it is inspirational to me as I grew up in the north with some outstanding teachers but some that were in the Union and just biding time till retirement. I have been truly blessed with some of my kids teachers. However being in the system for 13 years (oldest graduates this year) I have seen things go down hill for the worse and I am very upset. How can the Board be so blind, one thing on top of another - too much to take. I believe parents are working up to a revolt, hard to do but I think it is coming.... Good luck and I hope you continue to teach as you sound like someone who care.

  • bbj Apr 1, 2009

    That's funny...last time I checked no one asked the teachers what they wanted. So thanks to all those who just completely belittled what we do on a daily basis. Also, I would be quite happy to invite anyone in my classroom to do what I do, to the high level of expectation that I have for my students, for a week and then we'll discuss what I as a teacher deserve and don't deserve. I certainly don't ever recall my family bad mouthing teachers for the work they did when I was growing up, I certainly don't expect it from adults now. Maybe if teachers and students were supported by parents, the extra time would not be needed. I commend those parents who create the relationahip between school and home..your children will truely benefit more than you know. To all the others, take a look at yourselves, and know the facts before judging the work of others.

    Some of these comments are completely childish and uncalled for.

  • NCTeacher Apr 1, 2009

    No Redneck-

    At my school teachers are required to be at school by 7 and we are techinally "off" at 2:45. However, the parking lot stays full till about 4:30-5:00 because there are always meetings, papers to grade, lessons to plan, paperwork to fill out, etc.... All those things that we COULD be doing in our planning time if it wasn't already full of meetings, assemblies, testing, meetings, meetings, phone calls....

    Keep in mind too, that we don't get a half hour or hour lunch break where we can get in our cars and go eat lunch, run errands or do whatever else people do on their lunch breaks. In fact, leaving campus during your 45 minute planning period is against the rules unless you are doing some type of school business (like picking up doughnuts for a school fundraiser or something similar) and it is just impossible for it to be done another time.

  • nufsaid Apr 1, 2009

    ""nufsaid"...what exactly is it that you do?? I see more posts on here from you than anyone. It must be nice to have such time in your day to sound off your opinions and ideas...hmmm

    bj - Yup, its great.

  • NE Raleigh Apr 1, 2009

    This is the last zinger from the four members that will be replaced later this year. Hiopefully their will be a vote later on to overturn this. When common sense takes over for bussing, forced desegregation, and the numbers game.

  • bbj Apr 1, 2009

    "nufsaid"...what exactly is it that you do?? I see more posts on here from you than anyone. It must be nice to have such time in your day to sound off your opinions and ideas...hmmm

  • time4real Apr 1, 2009

    "Why not Friday? At least then we can get an early start on the weekend."

    That's why!

  • MrX-- Apr 1, 2009

    The Board of Education likes to latch onto every hip new education trend. They also love to make life as inconvenient for parents as possible.

    Why Wednesday? Why not Friday? At least then we can get an early start on the weekend.

  • colliedave Apr 1, 2009

    Burns is paid around $280,000 yearly.

    $279,999 too much