Local News

Wake leaders vote down referendum to help fund teacher pay

Posted August 4, 2014

— The Wake County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday voted 4-2 against a proposed referendum on a one-quarter cent sales-tax increase that would help pay teacher salaries.

Had it been approved, voters on Nov. 4 would have been asked to approve the measure, which would earmark revenue from the tax increase to raise pay for teachers and hourly paid employees of the Wake County Public School System.

The county estimates that the sales-tax increase could bring in an additional $27 million in revenue.

Leaders in Mecklenburg and Guilford counties have already approved similar referendums.

But Wake County commissioners who voted against the referendum said they were reluctant to put the measure on the ballot after a referendum last year in which voters approved an $810 million school construction bond.

In addition, the county's annual budget, approved in June, also includes a 4.4-cent property tax rate increase to help pay for school construction and allots liquor tax money to fund teacher raises.

They reminded other commissioners that, although the county pays teacher supplements, it's the state's responsibility to fund teachers' base pay.

Commissioner Paul Coble said he was also concerned that the money would essentially go to the school system without any parameters on how to spend it.

"The other thing that bothers me in the resolution is we're going to give 100 percent of the proceeds to the school system, no strings attached, no plan," he said. "It doesn't say they have to spend it on teacher pay. All it really says is, 'We're going to give that money to the school system.'"

Coble said he wants the school system to hand over its reserve fund to help increase the teacher supplement. Wake County school board Chairwoman Christine Kushner, however, said Monday that the majority of that funding is already allocated.

She said she's disappointed that commissioners rejected the referendum but said both boards will continue to work together.

The school system says it's losing at an unacceptable rate teachers to higher-paying jobs in other states at an unacceptable rate.

"Our teachers have been working in the classroom with our children doing more and more with less and less," Commissioner Caroline Sullivan, who voted in favor of the referendum, said.

Commissioner James West also voted for the measure.

"We've got to take care of Wake County, and we are putting ourselves in a non-competitive position," he said.


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  • WralCensorsAreBias Aug 5, 2014

    "Are you actually saying the public isn't smart enough to make the decision on their own?"

    Well you were smart enough to figure that out, kudos to you. The answer to your question, YES.

    The only ones selling themselves short are all of you buying into the lies you are fed every time they cry the sky is falling and they need billions more, and then being dumb enough to raise your own taxes.

    As a thanks for continuing to give them your naivety you get, "we can't even keep up with the two billion you gave us last year."

    So now they need four billion or more?

    Can't wait to hear what you'll get in return for that approval. I'm sure msot of you will be just fine with what ever they serve up as a thank you.

  • hiddentreasurescruecds Aug 5, 2014

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    Are you actually saying the public isn't smart enough to make the decision on their own? That the only reason they would vote for a school bond is because they were somehow hoodwinked by "elite outsiders"? The triangle region of NC is home to the most educated population in North Carolina, I do believe you are selling them short. Don't you?

  • Doug Pawlak Aug 5, 2014
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    I agree on your point two, but Coble could have had that point addressed without needing to dismiss the vote entirely. He used it as an excuse.

  • Doug Pawlak Aug 5, 2014
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    Please stay on topic.

  • short Aug 5, 2014

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    You mean unlike the democrats definition of a cut...you know ..where a food stamp program is slated to increase 5% in 2015..but then only gets a 3% increase in 2015 - thats a 'cut'.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Aug 5, 2014

    "When will the school board get enough? Is there ever an end to their "need"?

    Don't you mean an end to their "greed"?

    I'll tell you when the "end" will appear, just as soon as the majority of voters in Wake County decide they are tired of being conned by that liberal school board and the rich elites that they bring in each and every bond fight to do their dirty work conning the voters to approve it by scaring the public and telling us how quickly the sky is falling.

    Not a moment sooner.

  • same ole story Aug 5, 2014

    OK you got the money now it is time to SHOW IMPROVEMENT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Pensive01 Aug 5, 2014

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    b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.

    You left out the additional part of the definition in your zeal to say how wrong the definition was. Do note that the part you so conveniently left out does apply to the form of democratic government known as a republic.

  • Patricia Coldren Aug 5, 2014
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    Here's an idea...instead of looking at percentages...look at the actual amount of money...you'll find that the actual amount of money being spent is going down. Yes...that's right...down...because the percentage is just one number. Just like all of you that hate educators and public education like to just look at one number and say our schools are failing when they aren't. One number doesn't tell you anything.

  • miseem Aug 5, 2014

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    And an educated work force does not attract relocating businesses? I guess they can import them from other states. As long as they don't have, or plan to have, any kids. Don't know of many families or businesses that want to relocate to a state with poor educational opportunities, regardless of the tax savings. And as far as teacher pay, how come Wall Streeters and corporate management never get criticized for multi million dollar bonuses, even golden parachutes when they do poorly, but the people that educate the population get treated like worthless moochers?