Wake school officials: 'We don't have a plan' for funding shortage
Posted June 20
Cary, N.C. — Wake County school board members were gearing up to make tough decisions Tuesday evening after the budget approved by county commissioners for the next fiscal year did not fund their entire request.
The district will get $21 million more in funding over last year, but that falls short of the $45 million increase the school system requested. The district is still trying to figure out what the proposed state budget will mean for its bottom-line.
"We have a decision from the county. We will balance to that number," said Superintendent Jim Merrill.
Some Wake County commissioners place the funding blame on state lawmakers.
"We can not continue to blame each other by problems caused by another body," said Commissioner John Burns.
County Manager Jim Hartmann suggested school leaders could use surplus funds to make up the difference in funding. At the moment, district officials made it clear that they do not have a plan.
“We don’t have a plan other than to remind the community that, yes, Wake County Public School System always gets it done on behalf of our 161,000 students. But, we are very clear that we are not sure how that is going to happen today,” said Wake County school board Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler.
The state funding proposal includes increases to teacher and principal pay, but opponents say it is not enough and it shortchanges funding for school supplies.
School board members said they are unhappy about the funding they will receive and worry some of the initiatives they were excited about will not happen.
"I am deeply concerned about the social worker, counselor, mediator, justice work that we are trying to do," said school board member Jim Martin.
Wake County schools will receive more than $430 million in county funding for the 2017-2018 school year, which accounts for 52 percent of the overall county budget.