Wake County Schools

Wake school board approves $1.37B proposed operating budget

Posted April 22, 2014
Updated April 23, 2014

— Wake County school board members unanimously approved a proposed $1.37 billion operating budget Tuesday evening that includes raises for teachers and staff.

The challenge now is having the budget approved by county commissioners, who are being asked to spend $39.3 million more for the 2014-15 school year - $35 million of which would be used to provide employees with a 3.5 percent salary increase.

Voters passed a $810 million school building bond that will add about 4.5 cents to the county tax rate. Granting the schools' full funding request could increase the tax rate by 3 additional cents, county commissioners Vice-Chairman Joe Bryan said.

"It is pretty clear if we met the school system request, it would be another tax increase," he said.

Board members, including Jim Martin, see the salary increases as an attempt to catch up.

"This is not asking for the moon," he said during Tuesday's board meeting. "This is not even asking for expansion. This is barely catching up. I will vote for it even though I don't like it."

If approved, the extra funds would raise the district’s per student allocation to $2,238, an increase of $189.

The majority of local funding - a third of the district's total budget - comes from county commissioners. Fines and forfeitures, earned interest, tuition and parking fees, and fund balance appropriation make up the rest of the local funding.

The bulk of the district’s total budget – 59 percent – comes from the state. Those dollars are mostly spent on salaries and benefits.

The proposed budget is part of Wake County Public Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill’s plan to, by 2020, increase per pupil spending by $400 and raise teacher salaries to the national average. Wake schools’ average teacher salary is $45,512 while the national average is $56,383, the district said.

The proposed budget reflects additional costs, including:

- More than 3,000 new students
- The opening of Vernon Malone College and Career Academy this fall
- Increased health insurance and utility costs
- Funding the local portion of the 2.5 percent state-mandated teacher salary increase

The budget also includes a number of initiatives, including:

- $930,000 for K-12 literacy initiatives
- $1.75 million in targeted elementary school funds for “differentiated resourcing”
- $1.7 million to expand pre-K services
- $610,000 for the second year implementation of curriculum/technology facilitators
- $150,000 for the Knightdale Education Working Group

Any budget agreement between the school board and county commissioners may change based on how much the district receives from state legislators.

"We don't know what the state is going to do," board member Bill Fletcher said before voting for the budget. "The April surprise hasn't been revealed yet."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • WralCensorsAreBias Apr 24, 2014

    Today you got your answer, the CC's said if they were to approve this budget every tax payer in Wake would see at least $200 more per year. That would have to be billed to the tax payers almost immediately and would create a new baseline for your county taxes at $200+ more per year. That's before you have to start paying for the transportation fund. The rail system. Next year's school bond. Higher living expenses... Get the idea?

    The CC's will say no because they have no intentions of being the ones responsible for raising taxes that much and so soon after the recent property tax increases.

    Teacher's can go ahead and get mad now, but before they do maybe they should focus on Common Core being shut down in the next few months first. They can worry about that other stuff later.

  • AppStgrad Apr 24, 2014

    Whistling Dixie-
    You can choose to ignore the fact that yes, teachers are UNPAID for their 'summers off' and you can ignore the fact come June their will be numerous vacancies around the state, but ignoring facts is the definition of ignorance.
    And you work 12 hours a day, 52 weeks a year? No holidays? No sick, vacation, or personal leave? A little hard to believe....

  • Whistling Dixie Apr 23, 2014

    That's 1.37 BILLION! With a B, Billion.

  • Whistling Dixie Apr 23, 2014

    APPSTGRAD APR 23, 3:46 P.M.

    "- teachers DO NOT get "2-3 months off w/ pay", summer or track out days are UNPAID"
    Uhh, it doesn't matter if you get 1 paycheck or 52, $45,000 a year is just that, 45,000 a year. PAID

    "- teachers are expected to work until the job is done w/ no extra pay- even if that means parent conferences til 7pm"

    I generally work about 12 hours a day myself. That's what working folks do. Except i do it 52 weeks a year, not 40.

    I respect teachers and their commitment to helping others, but an average salary of 45,000 is on the high end of where it should be. IMO

  • John Booker Apr 23, 2014
    user avatar

    It's become quite fashionable and pseudo-patriotic to bash and degrade government employees. Teachers are portrayed as lazy, myopic folks who barely work 10 months/yr and kick back at the pool the rest of the time. The stereotypes flow from the keyboard to the comment boards like fervent vitriol. These stereotypes become truths to your detractors.

    According to many, none of you deserve a raise because you are leeches of society... earning your wages off the taxed backs of real "working folk". You should be happy that the people with "real jobs" keep you around - I mean: They pay your salary.

    You're right... I'd never be a teacher or work for the gov't in any capacity. Although all of the teachers I've interacted with are great, hard-working people - the hatred is too much to bear.

  • AppStgrad Apr 23, 2014

    - teachers DO NOT get "2-3 months off w/ pay", summer or track out days are UNPAID
    - teachers are expected to work until the job is done w/ no extra pay- even if that means parent conferences til 7pm
    -teachers are expected to do a myriad of duties, like attending PTA events, programs, fundraisers, weekend enrichment, etc all UNPAID
    - while there may be some sorry teachers out there, most are not because they wouldn't still be teaching if their heart wasn't in it
    -many GREAT teachers whose hearts truly are in it are leaving at the end of the year, NC is in for a crisis come July/August
    -those of you who say 'good riddance' to those teachers leaving are blind fools whose communities will be paying for this for many years to come

    Here's to hoping that all counties can step up and try to do a little something to retain those GREAT teachers who have stuck it out this long because of strong ties to their communities and belief in PUBLIC education.

  • whatelseisnew Apr 23, 2014

    What? The teachers are State employees not county. take that money out of the budget. You folks are stealing even more money from me this year, Obama caused my health insurance costs to more than double. His policies have kept fuel prices high which have caused food prices to rise. Teachers you do not like the pay, then demand changes to an outmoded ancient system for delivering education. We should not build even one more school. The bulk of the wake county budget goes to maintaining and operating this outmoded system. One county spending 1.37 billion on this mess is outrageous. It is unaffordable and unsustainable.

  • davidhartman Apr 23, 2014

    View quoted thread

    Perhaps, but it isn't exactly a secret that people don't enter the profession to get rich.

    My ex was an elementary teacher in CA.

    School bonds & funding was exorbitant, yet she barely had enough to get by & certainly couldn't afford to buy a house or condo anywhere near where she taught. After 6 - 8 years though, she was making decent money - $60k - $80k (not a lot for the Bay Area) not including money if she taught summer school.

    At least you have a job.

    As I mentioned previously, my UNC-CH post-doc friend is selling cars... That's 8+ years of education...

  • NeverBeAteacher Apr 23, 2014

    Starting salary in Wake County ($35,189) $3,500 (monthly gross) with a take home pay of $2,300 (monthly net) on a traditional calendar (10 paychecks).
    $820 Mortgage
    $175 Water/Trash/Elect/Gas
    $550 Student Loans
    $75 Car/Life Insur
    $75 Cable/TV
    $400 Summer Savings (no summer paycheck) $100 Groceries $100 Gas This is what a Bachelor's of Science in Education will provide you over 6 years if you entered the profession in 2008. Just enough to cover your bills and qualify you for welfare programs, but I refuse apply for free money. I entered this profession to instill knowledge and positive character traits into the kids I teach, but when I leave school I'm faced with the reality that I have nothing left at the end of the day and am forced to supplement my income with part time work to make ends meet. Summers off isn't that enjoyable as everyone makes it out to be.

  • Terry Watts Apr 23, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    You can take the summer off w/ pay: become a teacher.