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Wake school leaders approve budget cuts

Posted August 18, 2009

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— More than 300 teaching assistant positions have been cut from the Wake County Public School System's spending plan.

The Board of Education on Tuesday approved more than $35 million in budget cuts because of the state budget crisis.

Bus ride could be longer for Wake students Bus ride could be longer for Wake students

"We have looked at every possible option, and this has to be done. It's very troubling to us, but it has to be done," school board member Eleanor Goettee said.

Chief Business Officer David Neter said the teaching assistant cuts come down to a handful of positions at each school. "But it does make a difference," he added.

The plan also slashes $2 million from the school system's transportation budget.

Because the school system did not add any new bus routes to accommodate for three new schools, that could mean longer commutes for some students when classes at traditional-calendar schools begin next Tuesday.

"It could mean a slightly longer ride for some bus riders," the school system's transportation director, Bob Snidemiller, said. "We try to minimize that to a maximum of 45 minutes for any one student, one way."

Another cut could contribute to additional delays. To help cut down on costs, the school system's maintenance department was ordered in April to stop stocking parts. That could also contribute to longer downtime for buses out of service, if any necessary parts aren't already in inventory.

Nearly $5 million was cut from the textbook budget, which means there will be no funding to buy textbooks, such as workbooks, that can't be reused, Neter said.

"Unfortunately, there is going to be a negative impact on the classroom," Goettee said.

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.

Last week, the school board decided to rehire 911 of those employees – including teachers, assistants and social workers.

State lawmakers cut education statewide by almost 10 percent, but they gave individual districts the flexibility to balance their budgets as needed.

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  • ncguy Aug 19, 2009

    stop diversity bussing- oh wait a minute you need the fed dollars...my bad..

  • miketroll3572 Aug 18, 2009

    Git rid of the glorified baby sitting service.....head start, smart start, more at 4 and all the others. Use that money for the schools instead of more liberal feel good socialistic welfare programs.

  • colliedave Aug 18, 2009

    Busing "distributes" kids and money. Sorry, but its proven reality...and if you don't want to believe it check out turnover rates at schools with high poverty rates, drop out rates, etc. NCSUTeach"

    The fact you are a teacher wanna-be scare me...the stats prove that busing minority children does NOT improve their performance in schools nor does it help in any way increase their parents involvment in their childrens' schools. In fact, it does the opposite.

    The system needs to do all that is possible to identify at-risk children and devote money towards these kids. Money spent busing these children around town can be better spent helping them overcome their learning dificulties. Communities of faith can encourage their members to help these children by becoming mentors/tutors. Lastly, childhood is fleeting and these kids need time just being kids, not spending 1.5 hours per day on a bus.

  • due_whats_right Aug 18, 2009

    jockey shift --- are you serious? You don't know what walks through those school doors every morning and you blame learning on the teacher? No, blame teaching on the teacher. If Johnny was up keeping little brother because mom had to work or if Sara stayed out all night b/c mom locked her out or Jerome was at the shelter and could not get any sleep for all the noise going on there, do you think that any of these kids care about learning or about the where the next meal is coming from. Or maybe where will I sleep tonite? That is what we deal with on a daily basis. Worlds apart from when we got to school. So don't get off on teachers. I can teach til I am blue in the face, but if what Johnny has on his mind is more pressing than Algebra, my teaching abilities are a moot point. I encourage you to volunteer at your local school, deal with the kids we deal with on a daily basis and then pass judgment! Tell me what teacher ed program prepares a teacher for these type of situations?

  • due_whats_right Aug 18, 2009

    colliedave- um, you cannot knock NCTEACH for the statement. I assume you have never been a minority when it came to education or you would not have made the misinformed comment about equal schools. From an administrative stance, you do want equal education for all. One school should not have 97% free and reduced lunch and be held to the same academic standards as one that has a 15% free & reduced lunch numbers. Maybe you will say that F&R numbers don't mean anything either huh? And the funding for busing is a different pot of money than that of special ed. And special ed is not for those who need extra help but need an even playing field. The xtra help is called remediation. Don't be so quick to down an educator....at least NCTEACH did the research!

  • whatelseisnew Aug 18, 2009

    The kids can't read so books are not needed. The cuts are tiny when stacked against the huge Wake County Budget. We could accomplish so much with that money if we could get rid of the public schools. It is really a shame.

  • jockeyshiftspringer Aug 18, 2009

    NCSUTeach said: "Look at the statistics, if students are not bused, the majority of "smart" kids would all go to the same school and vice verses. Busing helps make all schools "equal."

    So it's fair to dumb down the "smart" kids? If little Johnny is dumb, then hey, he's dumb. But if the whole school is dumb, sound like a school staffing problem, not the kids.

  • Adelinthe Aug 18, 2009

    As far as I can tell, NC doesn't care about its children, its elderly and its disabled.

    I come from PA where all three groups receive far better care than they do here.

    Here they seem to be used as pawns for formulating excuses in an effort to explain tax hikes.

    Praying for them.

    God bless.

    RB

  • MSN93 Aug 18, 2009

    It is long past time to clean house in the school board. Busing for economic reasons is benefitting no one. We can keep schools in economically challenged neighborhoods afloat by continiuing to offer attractive magnet programs in those schools. This type of VOLUNTARY busing is the only busing we should be doing. Get rid of forced busing, save millions in fuel and bus upkeep, allow children to attend the school closest to their home (where they can walk, ride bikes, ride with parents, or have a minimal bus ride), and give parents the chance to get more involved and take pride in their LOCAL schools again. And the only way to do this is to VOTE OUT the entire board and refuse to support any candidate who will not aggressively pursue local schools. Become a candidate yourself, or VOTE for one who believes as you do.

  • time4real Aug 18, 2009

    "It is time to make drastic changes in the school board,"
    I'm tired of hearing whiners say this, you wake county voters have proven every election that you can't live up to this by voting in the same ole types! if you REALLY want a change, and are finally fed up, get off your tails, tell your neighbors especially to do the same, they're the ones you have to worry about NOT doing their part, and get out their and vote to put PARENT AND CHILDREN AND EDUCATION focused people into office!!!! That means NO ONE who has EVER served on the wake county board before! NO ONE! Do you need more hints than that??

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