Local News

School budget cuts hit Wake, Durham classrooms

Posted May 28, 2009

— Cuts in local and state funding are starting to hit classrooms in Wake and Durham counties, where teachers' jobs are in jeopardy and some electives are being eliminated.

Apex Middle School, for example, lost its orchestra because of a tight budget.

"I thought it was a joke, a very sick joke," said Kyrie Antoinette, a 12-year-old violinist at the school who had hoped to audition for the North Carolina School of the Arts in a couple of years. "It is very devastating to see it go."

Electives dropped in tight budget Electives dropped in tight budget

"I know my son was crushed," said Alison Horton, who had to break the news to her son, Austin, who plays viola in the orchestra.

Wake County school district officials said expenses must be reduced by 5 percent but left it up to administrators at individual schools to decide what to cut.

"There are very difficult decisions teachers and principals have to make right now," district spokesman Michael Evans said. "Second languages are being hit (at some schools). Some electives are being hit in other areas."

Core instruction won't be affected at any school, he said.

Wake County's proposed budget cuts school district funding by $3 million in the 2009-10 school year. In Durham County, a budget plan calls for a 2.8 percent cut for Durham Public Schools, or about $3 million.

Lawmakers continue to work on a state budget, but House committees have recommended slashing education funding by $1.8 billion to help erase a projected $4.5 billion deficit.

About 200 Durham County teaching jobs could be eliminated, said Minnie Forte-Brown, chairwoman of the Board of Education.

Forte-Brown said the district already has lost more than $7 million in state funding and likely will lose more when the state budget is passed.

"It may not be the county's responsibility, but if you want to have a quality school system that we want for our children, somebody has to make up for it," she said.

County Manager Mike Ruffin said the schools can afford to lose some funding because they expect enrollment to drop by almost 1,100 students in the fall.

"I understand and appreciate where the school system finds itself," Ruffin said. "Clearly, we've got to all live on less. We've go to do just like mom and pop do at home. We look at what we've got in the way of income, and our expenses have got to pretty much model that."

The Durham County school board and Board of Commissioners couldn't agree Thursday on how to handle the budget issue, so they agreed to hold another meeting in the coming weeks to continue discussing the situation.

In Apex, Alison Horton said she and other parents and students plan to lobby Apex Middle officials to find other places to cut so the orchestra can join the chorus, art and band programs in surviving the budget ax.


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  • PeaceOut2017 Jun 2, 2009

    Here's all the stories on budget cuts on today's web page

    "Library supporters argue against Wake budget cuts"
    "Police, firefighters to protest Raleigh budget"
    "Churches try to fill gap as counties cut services"
    "Special-needs school could become casualty of state budget cuts"
    "House looks to cut another $265M from human services"
    "Job cuts coming to Wake County schools"


  • MakoII May 29, 2009

    Here, I suggest this proposal:

    If you think people should lose their jobs, or that people at schools aren't doing a good job, then Volunteer at a school function?

    Like being an EOG Monitor.

    Trust me, after a few hours, you'll run silently screaming from that place and never want to go back.

    Most people haven't the tiniest understanding of responsibility until they've been in charge of kids and a kid serving organization.

    Heck, such people probably can't get far enough away from their own kids and out to the sanctity of a golf course.

    Most educators do so for altruistic reasons, which is why they stand for sub-standard salaries in the first place. They think of their job in Social terms, not economic ones.

    But if you keep pressing them to reverse that thinking, then no amount of money will give back the excellence in classroom instruction that altruism brings.

  • MakoII May 29, 2009

    To cutting "Admin" and getting more "Teachers":

    Who figures out the bus routes so that all the students get picked up in time? Buses who often do multiple school service?

    Who figures out school districts, where kids go, to what schools, what classes. Figure out how to comply with family requests that their kids stay on the same Track?

    Who figure out Teacher performances to recommend keeping them or letting them go? To handle the needs from classroom requests, making sure the school has adequate supplies? To handle complaints from students, from parents, from teachers, from the public?

    This is the tip of the iceberg.

    Management is crucial to classroom instruction. Without one, you can't have the other. One you can see, the other is more invisible to the public.

    So ASK an Assistant Principal what they do? Ask why they are necessary?

    It isn't a charitable fund for employing out-of-work Master's and PhD's.

    Although it does "intern" and "develop" budding Principals.

  • MakoII May 29, 2009


    When you have the facts at your fingertips and choose to ignore those facts and call for actions based on ignoring those facts, that is called: ignorant

    Research the web before posting that people should lose their careers and livelihoods just because you can't type in a search engine.

    You are hurt by a word, yet want to put people at risk of losing their homes, and hurting their families for lack of a salary. People who demonstrably provide better than Private Industry standards of Performance?

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 29, 2009

    The biggest cost savings would be to end the failed socialist race based socio-economical diversity busing program.

  • clickclackity2 May 29, 2009

    What Durham County needs to do is get rid of most of those incompetent employees. It would be best to cut those folks than cut teachers, Durham County really needs teachers.

  • Tolip May 29, 2009

    Sorry I could not get past "your ignorant mind". So all the drivel you posted past that went to waste!

    Oh ye who have command and knowledge. I refuse to debate someone with a condescending mind set such as yours. Have a nice life!

  • MakoII May 29, 2009

    Allow me to enlighten your ignorant mind:

    Wakefield High School serves roughly 2800 students. That's larger than many TOWNS. Their Principal has more executive experience than Gov. Palin. Their percentage of kids who go to college is 92%. Considering that the NC average of kids who finish high school is 75%, that's not too shabby. They also send 8% of their kids to the Military. This awesome public education then allows these kids to run tanks, nuclear subs, fly jets, etc. Might be why we have the best armed forces on earth.

    But here's the kicker: Their average SAT score is 1550

    I'm going out on a limb here, but I bet on your best thinking day you haven't approached 1550.

    But that's ok, you want to take a school that is performing ideally and tear it up. It's an opinion I suppose.

    I suggest you join your local terrorist group and declare Jihad on America. Then you can all plan together how to best destroy America from the inside out.

  • Tolip May 29, 2009

    How about cutting the Fat? I am sure all of Wake County is streamlined for efficiency!

  • MakoII May 29, 2009

    If you want to learn why Wakefield has that many AP's, why not go there and ask them.

    You see, you all talk about things you know nothing about. How about learning how a system works before commenting on it.