Wake County Schools

Wake County schools approve $1.5 billion budget

Posted May 3, 2016

School bus

— The Wake County school board has unanimously approved a $1.5 billion budget for the 2016-2017 school year.

The budget, which was first proposed in March, includes an increase of $35.7 million in local funding. School officials said 75 percent of that increase is dictated by enrollment growth, prior commitments and the effect of recent legislative decisions.

The Wake County Public Schools System gets about 59 percent of its funding from the state and 29 percent from Wake County. Additional money comes from state and local sources.

The budget will now go before the Wake County Board of Commissioners for consideration. The district has requested about $421.7 million from the county. Legislators are scheduled to approve a county budget, including the contribution to the school system, on June 20.

School officials said that even though local county appropriations have increased since 2008, state funding is down 1.9 percent and federal funding is down 1.6 percent. That means that total per-pupil funding is still lower than it was eight years ago, making it difficult for the district to keep pace with student population growth.

“One thing that challenges us or constrains us is, we have to request so much funding just to keep up with growth,” said Wake County Public School System chief business officer David Neter. “Eighty percent of the request to the county for additional funding is not for new or expanding programs, but it is for the growth.”


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  • Matt Nickeson May 4, 2016
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    They always talk about needing more money but they never speak of making better use of the money that they have. I would be inclined to support more spending, and therefore taxes, if they would demonstrate that they were using the money efficiently. That would include demonstrating improving student outcomes. This, however, is not the case. The one thing that I can't wrap my mind around is why the teachers constantly complain about money, and rightfully so, but never advocate for better use of current funds.

  • Shandy Scott May 4, 2016
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    Like the 100% Democratic County Commissioners will not give Merrill wants he wants. They have increased our real estate taxes by over 15.3% in these two years. The bond passed in November of 2013 increased taxes by 9%. Merrill and the board increased it another 6.3% with last years budget. Look at the future increases. In November of 2016 they will be presenting a two billion dollar school bond that will increase it another 22%. The school system’s plan to increase new teachers’ salaries over the next four years will increase taxes by 2.3% a year for the next four years. We could be talking a minimum increase in rates over the next several years of well over 50%. This does not even include the wasted transit referendum coming in 2016. Our taxes go up naturally with the increase in the value of our homes. Last year the average assessment increased 5% which is another tax increase.

  • Demute Sainte May 3, 2016
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    WOW... So it costs $1.5 BILLION dollars to educate about 157,000 students in Wake county. That is roughly $9550 per student. Which is $286,500 per classroom of 30 students a calendar year. And the average teacher gets about $35,000 of that per year. Can anyone else see how much money is being WASTED by the public education system? Then consider 13,000 of these kids wont graduate. And test scores are dropping. And compare what we spend per student with places like Europe, Canada, or Japan. The system is broken... and its not the teachers fault.