Local Politics

Wake residents push for more school funding

Posted June 5

— A steady stream of Wake County residents told the Board of Commissioners on Monday that the county needs to provide more funding to local schools.

County Manager Jim Hartmann last month proposed a $1.26 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts in July, including a 1.45-cent increase to the county's tax rate that would add $29 to the annual tax bill for the owner of a $200,000 house.

But Hartmann's proposal gives only $16 million more to the Wake County Public School System, which had requested $45 million in new money to keep up with enrollment growth. The county spending plan also would require the school district to spend $21 million in surplus funds from this year.

"Failing to keep up with growth, increasing pressures on teachers and professional staff, causes damage that will be costly to recover from," Susan Parry told commissioners.

"Isn’t it in the public interest for me to be as prepared as I can for when I become a functioning adult?" asked Wesley Wood, a 15-year-old Enloe High School student.

Hartmann reminded the board of the various competing interests for county funds and pointed out that the school system already gets 52 percent of the total budget.

"This recommended budget focuses on growing needs in critical areas, such as public safety, growth and development and education," he said.

Some speakers during a public hearing on the budget were blunt, telling commissioners to raise their taxes to fund schools.

"Please give Wake County (schools) the full amount they asked for. Why? Because Wake County can afford it, and it's the right thing to do," Karey Harwood said.

"Our children deserve the best education that can be provided and that involves raising and spending more money," said parent Ann Overton.

But the last speaker raised the caution flag, telling commissioners the school system needs to be held accountable for any extra dollars they may be given.

"Whatever funding comes out of this, we need to see the results of that the next time around when the request is made," Jerome Brown said.

Others said there have been too many tax increases in recent years.

"You folks are doing a marvelous job of incrementally taking the quality of life out of Wake County," said Joey Stansbury.

The Board of Commissioners is expected to adopt a final budget on June 19.


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  • Andy Jackson Jun 8, 5:29 p.m.
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    Wake County Commissioners - Stop with the property tax increases for any reason! Make those moving here (with legislative agenda movement with the state) pay for the growth! Our families that have been here for 100s of years (yes, that long) are sick and tired of seeing our neighbors having to sell their land because of higher county property taxes. And being a former Wake Employee - the WCPSS, like any other organization- CAN find was to make cuts and efficiencies - just like the county has done for years! If you keep on raising taxes, we'll end up with a county with nothing but a bunch of homes 4 feet apart, pavement, and NO land for our children to enjoy. And for those who say they'd be glad to pay more taxes for schools - I say to them to form a line at the Revenue's office to make your contribution to WCPSS!!!

  • Jeffrey Derry Jun 6, 7:08 p.m.
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    #liberalismisamentaldisorder and abounds in #WakeCounty they think that they can tax and spend themselves into prosperity stay out of Wake County if you care about your wallet

  • Teddy Fowler Jun 6, 2:22 p.m.
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    [quote=16745897]Post by Zeke I am not struggling but I have definitely noticed a sizable increase in my property taxes and I am sure that people on a fixed income are indeed struggling....

  • Zeke Reynolds Jun 6, 1:06 p.m.
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    Somehow I'm not surprised to see a comment like this from someone who thinks it's a good idea to make schools "optional".

    1) People who have a legitimate reason to struggle for food and electricity are barely impacted by tax rates. So you are either dishonest about your situation, or horribly irresponsible with your money, or both.

    2) Having a bunch of people move into the county increases the tax base AND ALSO increases expenses. Of course there is going to be a need for higher taxes where there are more people, look at map and the pattern is very obvious.

  • Lori De Stefano Jun 6, 12:01 p.m.
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    I really can't believe with all the people moving daily into Wake County - by the thousands - that the taxes would need to be raised. As a single person I'm struggling these last few years, everything is getting more expensive and my salary hasn't grown at all. I don't have kids and a large chunk of my taxes pay for schools - wish there could be an 'opt out' on it - got kids? then you are more than welcome to pay more - me, no, I'd like to keep some of my money for things like food and paying my ridiculous Duke Electric bills.

  • Ryan Kurtz Jun 6, 9:43 a.m.
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    The simpler solution would be to convert more K-8 schools to year-round schedule, and start making high schools the same. The brilliance of the year-round system is that it takes 25% of the school population at any given time, and it's not being utilized to it's full potential, in fact they're drawing back on it. Imagine what that would do for our budgeting if our school leaders got smart and started converting more, not just K-8 schools, but high school as well to help parents who have children in both high school and/or middle/elementary schools. It's just such a simple solution over the conventional "we need more money to build more schools". They could easily start with the Middle Creek High School since West Lake Middle and Elementary are year-round a few hundreds yards away, that would be a good starting point to see how this all works out.

  • Robert Swiger Sr. Jun 6, 8:27 a.m.
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    This is what you get when liberals are running the school system. Want more money and spend on nothing

  • Teddy Fowler Jun 6, 7:53 a.m.
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    Already have raised taxes 4 years in a row... not to mention Cary raised taxes and now Raleigh will too.... it adds up pretty quickly

  • Bobby Caudle Jun 6, 7:03 a.m.
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    where's the lottery money going?

  • Brian Tucker Jun 6, 3:40 a.m.
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    You all mostly say raise the taxes, Wake county taxpayers can afford it and it's what our kids need ... speak for yourself, not everyone can afford anther tax hike, along with City's budget tax hike and County's budget tax hike .. sure, go ahead and make predictions we all can afford it, let's divide the school map for tax purposes, west side uses more $, so bigger tax hike and east side uses less $, so a lesser tax hike ... Commissioners do the math and see if this would work .... btw, I'm an eastsider.