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Wake schools to bring back hundreds of educators

Posted August 12, 2009

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— More than 900 Wake County public school employees whose contracts weren't renewed last spring because of budget concerns will be rehired for the start of classes next week, officials said Wednesday.

The school district is hurriedly trying to determine its financial situation after lawmakers approved a state budget last week that slashed education spending statewide by almost 10 percent.

School generic Budget cuts hit Wake schools hard

Wake schools learned this week that they would lose $35 million in state funding, including money to buy textbooks, upgrade computers and keep school buses running.

Lawmakers chose not to dictate that jobs be cut, giving individual districts the flexibility to balance their budgets as they saw fit. But Wake County school district officials said such steep cuts in revenue had to translate into job losses because most of the district's expenses are tied up in personnel.

"It's going to mean fewer teacher assistants. It's going to mean larger class sizes in elementary schools, in grades 4 and 5. It's also going to mean fewer electives in high schools," school board member Eleanor Goettee said. "I think we're going to be trying to tread water. That's not what we should be doing, and with these cuts, that's going to be hard to do."

The district implemented a hiring freeze and tried to curb spending last fall in preparation for budget cuts. Last spring, officials told nearly 1,500 employees whose contracts expired at the end of June not to count on having a job for the 2009-10 school year.

With the state budget set, officials said Wednesday they would be able to bring 911 people back, including teachers, assistants and social workers. Superintendent Del Burns said another 92 people could be brought back in the coming weeks, depending on how enrollment numbers at schools across the county shake out.

"At the end of the day, it's likely that we will have hundreds of teachers – between 300 and 500 teachers, I would imagine – fewer this year (compared with) last year because of funding reductions," Burns said. "We're very fortunate, however, that we've been able to minimize that number to that level."

Last year, the district employed about 9,500 teachers. He said he expects eventually to have about 9,200 teachers in county classrooms.

Cary High School Principal Doug Thilman said he knows he'll have to do more with fewer resources this year.

"We've lost several of our AP sections and some of our other elective sections that we've normally been able to offer here for a long time," Thilman said. "It's not (just) Cary High School. The whole state, the whole country is suffering through this. We try to ease their fear a little bit."

The cuts have upset many parents and students.

"You have a local and state government that says, 'We're all about the kids,' and all of a sudden, the first thing that happens is the kids get hit, the teachers get hit," parent George Wait said. "That doesn't speak well for us as a state when it pertains to education."


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  • james27613 Aug 14, 2009

    How much money is spent on the Charter schools ?

    Given the budget crisis, these Charter schools should be
    closed and funds used for the County schools.

  • time4real Aug 13, 2009

    "why is it my responsibility to fund them?"
    because YOUR government makes their children citizens and therefore YOUR responsibility!

  • ncguy Aug 13, 2009

    diversity is one thing- education of illegal children is much bigger money guzzler!
    while I feel for these chidren- why is it my responsibility to fund them? especially since mom and dad send the majority of their miney back to where they came from? they pay half what we do into the tax base but yet receive 100% of our social services.

    It will get even worse if Obama's health care reform covers non USA citizens?? That's right people! it covers non citizens?

    when will the liberal agenda stop?

  • time4real Aug 13, 2009

    "Story headline makes no sense."
    It's a mis-print,
    it should read,
    Wake schools WON'T bring back hundreds of educators!!!

  • WhiskeyTangoFoxtrot Aug 13, 2009

    "I still wonder how much money could be saved by eliminating diversity busing and keep reassignment strictly for filling new schools."

    - My first thought.

    "If we are so concerned about the funding of the schools, let us look at this... 1/2 of the Wake Co budget goes to the Wake schools. An additional 1/4 of the Wake Co budget goes to the Wake schools for capital projects (new schools etc). This is leaving 1/4 of the complete Wake Co budget to pay for social services, Sheriff, EMS, and all other County services.

    DC, NY and NY spend over $12k a year per public school pupil, and they are not exactly on the top of the academia. Just goes to prove that the amount of money being spent does not exaclty equate to the quality of education they are getting. "

    - This is what happens when politics and education meet. Politicians use education system for a platform with no plan behind it but it looks good to say (and do) more money for education. Once the money is there they that's tha

  • injameswetrust2003 Aug 12, 2009

    I still wonder how much money could be saved by eliminating diversity busing and keep reassignment strictly for filling new schools.

    I want to know how many administrators are working in the Wake County Buildings on Wake Forest Road and Dillard Drive. Surely some of them could be cut.

  • Oh Snap. Aug 12, 2009

    Story headline makes no sense.

  • gandalla Aug 12, 2009

    Pay based on performance.The good teachers get paid more and the ones that suck get paid less.

  • baracus Aug 12, 2009

    The people whining about the lottery money are about as bad at math as the people playing the lottery. The proposed budget for education in NC for 2009 cut funding by $1.37 billion. The lottery generates about $400 million per year. It isn't that hard to figure why the lottery money is not a magic fix.

  • StanleyCup Aug 12, 2009

    But will all those teachers being brought back under a contract that will expire again in June???