Proposed Wake budget doesn't fund teacher raises
Posted May 19, 2014
Updated May 30, 2014
Raleigh, N.C. — Despite impassioned pleas from the public, Wake County Manager Jim Hartmann declined to fully fund a budget request from the Wake County Public School System in his proposed 2014-15 budget, which he presented to the Board of Commissioners on Monday.
The Board of Education last month approved a $1.37 billion operating budget for the coming school year, an increase of $39 million over 2013-14. Part of the proposed increase would pay for 3.5 percent raises for teachers and school staff.
Hartmann's spending plan calls for funding $10 million of the requested increase for area schools, which he said would be enough to cover operations and construction. He said he wants to wait to see how the legislature handles teacher raises before committing any county money toward it.
"I’m very much in support of having good schools," he said. "We just have to figure out how, as a community, to pay for this."
Hartmann said he has talked to Superintendent Jim Merrill about finding other resources to help boost salaries.
Meanwhile, he included a 2.75 percent raise for county employees in his $1 billion budget proposal, which upset school board Chairwoman Christine Kushner.
"I'm disappointed teachers, bus drivers, teacher assistants and other school employees are being asked to wait again for a pay increase, while county employees are in the budget for 2.75 percent increase, their fourth raise in past four years," Kushner said. "Teachers have had one 1.2 percent raise in last five years. They have been losing ground, and now we're losing teachers."
She added that she looks forward to talking further with county commissioners about the needs of the school system.
Two public hearings on the budget will be held next month before commissioners approve a final plan. Public comments may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new budget will take effect July 1.