Local News

Wake County schools find good and bad in state budget

Posted September 15, 2015

There’s good news and bad news for the Wake County Public School System in the new compromise state budget and school leaders said Tuesday that it will mean a few adjustments in their own budget.

Wake County school leaders waited more than two months for the compromise budget. Chief business officer, David Neter said there are some good points in it.

“Driver’s education funding is restored,” Neter said.

There is extra money for textbooks, teachers get varying increases through raises and one-time bonuses, and last year’s funding for teaching assistants is maintained.

However, there are some downsides as well.

“The removal of flexibility will hamper us a bit,” Neter said.

The budget proposal requires teaching assistant funding to be used for teaching assistants only. In the past, the school district used some of that money in other areas, including for more full-time teachers. They did that again this year, before the late General Assembly budget was released.

“When we convert resources, it is at the beginning of the year, so we are going to have to go back and retroactively look at how we undo those and what pain that might cause,” Neter said.

A recent survey presented to school board members asked residents across North Carolina what they thought of the public school system. It was conducted for the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation, a left-leaning group.

Concerns included teacher pay and quality of curriculum.

“We need to make sure that we are communicating with community members and making sure they recognize the good things going on in Wake County public schools,” said school board chair, Christine Kushner.

Wake County School Board members will get a look at recommended changes to their budget next month.

Driver’s education, which had been suspended in Wake County, should be reinstated when the state budget takes effect.

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  • Tom Boswell Sep 16, 2015
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    There is no problem for Wake County because they will just again raises taxes on us. They have increased our real estate taxes by over 15.3% in two years. The bond passed in November of 2013 increased taxes by 9%. Merrill and the board increased it another 6.3% with the current budget. Add it up. Look at the future increases. In November of 2016 they will be presenting a billion dollar school bond that will increase it another 11%. The school system’s plan to increase new teachers’ salaries would step up $16 million per year for five years, adding up to $80 million annually by the fiscal year 2020. Along with other costs, that could create deficits of $20 million per year. If 48 million increased our taxes 7% this year than just salary increases of 16 million will increase our rate 2.3% a year for the next five years. Add these up. We could be talking a minimum increase in rates over the next several years of well over 37%. These increases are for just raises.