Wake County Schools

Strategic planning comes amid uncertainty for Wake schools

Posted August 6, 2014

— As the Wake County Public School System solicited public input on Wednesday for its five-year strategic plan, the effort comes amid financial uncertainty from lawmakers and the community giving the district an overall average grade.

About 700 people gathered inside N.C. State University’s Jane S. McKimmon Center for the district’s latest effort in asking the community what it should focus on for the next five years. The meeting comes after the district released results from a survey where over 9,500 people shared their thoughts on the state’s largest school district.

One of the biggest concerns, according to results released Tuesday, is teacher pay.

“The majority of stakeholder cohorts (principals, teachers, community groups, school board, and teachers) could give examples of the outbound churn of teachers leaving for other school systems or private schools due to low compensation in Wake County,” the report said. “Moreover, the current pay does nothing to encourage the most talented students to pursue a teaching degree.”

More than 600 teachers left the system between July 2013 and April, in part due to pay, according to the district.

The issue was among the top three priorities for those at Wednesday’s forum:

  • Recruiting, supporting and compensating good teachers.
  • Providing a rigorous education.
  • Graduating students on time and ready for their next step in life.

Deciding how much to increase teacher pay was a sticking point for legislators, so much so that it delayed the passing of an updated state budget, which Gov. Pat McCrory said he will sign this week.

The budget leaves Wake schools with a $12.6 million funding gap. About $11.1 million of that is salary and benefits the system will pay to increase local supplements, which are calculated as a percentage of state pay.

In addition, the budget changes how school districts receive state funding. Districts receive funds based on enrollment, or average daily membership. These payments, initially based on projected growth for the upcoming school year, will become retrospective – meaning districts will be reimbursed after the start of the school year. Until then, districts would cover the cost of additional students.

The challenging financial outlook comes as those surveyed thought the district was average in meeting their expectations:

  • Business leaders, community groups, former students currently in college and non-district parents gave it a “C”.
  • Central office employees gave it a “C+”.
  • Current parents and students, as well as former students who went into the workforce after high school, gave it a “B”.
  • Current alternative school students gave the district an “A”.

Principals and teachers were not asked to give the district a letter grade.

For business leaders, they don’t have much faith in public education, according to the report.

“Some business leaders feared that with the lack of resources, public education was moving in the wrong direction, simply moving children with limited skills through the system,” the report said. “However, others in the same cohort voiced their belief that if community organizations were to get more involved in the school system, they could influence decision makers to direct more funding to the school system.”

Other concerns highlighted in the report include the district’s technological progress, personalizing how students learn, support for guidance counselors, aligning learning with real world needs and parental and community involvement.

Survey results, along with answers from Wednesday’s forum, will help school leaders create the district’s strategic plan, which is expected to be presented in December.


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  • Tom Boswell Aug 7, 2014
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    massive tax cuts!!! You seriously do not think we had a spending problem under the democrats than a revenue problem. We are a southeastern state with a medium family income ranked 36th. Depending on the source our overall tax burden was between 10th-17th. With all this revenue coming in the Democrats managed the country's fifth largest budget deficit in 2012 of 3.5 billion. These massive tax cuts are baloney. There are ten states with a flat tax rate. Our's is the second highest. The state known as the most liberal in the country, Taxachuestas, has a flat rate lower than ours.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 7, 2014

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    I'm confused. You complain about the taxes you have to pay but you think the wealthy and billion dollar corporations should get massive tax cuts? I'm not sure I follow your logic.

    Btw I'm not sure what a "Gimmicrat" is unless that refers to the tax breaks and corporate welfare the billion dollar corporations get but I have been a registered Republican since I turned 18 in 1991.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 7, 2014

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    I'm not going to argue this point any further as we both have different opinions and data to back it up. All I will say is that I am a registered Republican but haven't actually voted Republican at the statewide level in the past several year. I believe that the NCGOP is taking our state in the wrong direction.

    I believe that the massive tax cuts will hurt the state, not just in the long term, not just in the short term, but RIGHT NOW. We're already running half billion deficient right now due to the lost tax revenue. And no amount of slight of hand changes that fact. Projections from non-biased independent groups estimate the loss of tax revenue to grow to 5,5 billion dollars over the next 5 years. Do you really think the state's economy will grow that much to make up that deficient? I sure hope so or the working class people of NC are in for a world of hurt in the near future.

  • Tom Boswell Aug 7, 2014
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    What state are you living in? The sales tax rate is 4.75% and has been for years. In 2009, Perdue increased it temporary to 5.75% for one year. When the one year was up she wanted to continue the rate of 5.75% but thank God in 2011 the Republican controlled General Assembly rejected her proposal. What we did lose is the state tax free weekend. I am really bummed that I will not save $.15 on my computer paper purchase.

  • chris42m Aug 7, 2014


    Spoken like a true "Gimmicrat". "Don't tax you, Don't tax me, Tax that guy behind the tree!" You and yours are happy to have all of these wonderful things as long as someone else has to pay for them. Perhaps you have missed it, but people like myself are getting really tired of funding Black Holes you endlessly pour money without any results. This is a mostly why Republicans took control of both state houses for the first time in 100 years.

    I just receive my property tax bill and it is up again this year ($4000 for a 3000 Sq Ft House). Those of us who do pay taxes can't afford to have them go up year after year to fund some nebulous "Education" line on the budget. BTW, I am one of those "Working People" too and have been for over 45 years.

  • Ryan Kurtz Aug 7, 2014
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    Except you're leaving out that the middle class is always the one that pays more. Why? Because we make up more of the population than the ultra-rich. That's the way it's always been, and will continue to be. The middle class does not stir the direction of job formations like the "rich" in this country do. The middle class is here to support the economic development of goods and services, home buying, etc. When the middle and lower class has no jobs, they don't buy at the rate required to pay for government funded programs. That is why you put more money back into rich peoples pockets that are job creators so they can invest in people like you and me. If you we're to take 15% more money from the wealthy, sure, that'd have an impact immediately in the amount of money the government has, but long term does nothing but take us backwards when they start taking their remaining money elsewhere to foreign countries thus decreasing tax rev

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 7, 2014

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    You're leaving out the part where the sales tax was raised and the amount of taxable goods was increased. Actual non-biased studies have shown that not only has this shifted the tax burden to the middle and working classes it has also led to an actual tax hike for those people as well. But hey, those billionaire corporations and the massively wealthy need the tax relief don't they?

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 7, 2014

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    Except for the fact that massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations never provide the jobs they promise or the boost in the economy they say they will. It didn't work with the Bush era tax cuts and it's certainly hasn't worked in Kansas the past few years, which is where the NCGOP got the idea to bring it to the good people of NC.

    But it's interesting that you support shifting the tax burden to the hard working people of NC, the middle and working class who thanks to an increased sales tax and an increase of taxable goods are now enjoying a major tax hike while providing tax relief for the massively wealthy and billionaire corporations.

    Because if you support the recent tax plan than you support increasing taxes on the middle and working class. That's an interesting side to take...

  • Tom Boswell Aug 7, 2014
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    Everyone received tax cuts and if you did not you need to call someone immediately. The tax rate for a couple making less than $21,250, our lowest income level, was previously taxed by the Democrats at 7%. This represented the highest rate in the country at that income level. The highest bracket for a couple was in excess of $100,000. Many on the left call this the super rich. They were taxed at a rate of 7.75% which represented the countries tenth highest rate at that income level. WE ALL received tax relief to 5.8% for 2014 and it again will be reduced in 2015. Only ten states taxed their most wealthy citizens more than our Democrats taxed our lowest level income level at that 7%.

  • jurydoc Aug 7, 2014

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    Wow, just wow at the grandiose assumptions you make when ALL I did was show you where to access the information you claimed you wanted. Clearly, that isn't what you wanted at all.