Wake County Schools

Wake schools hopes to 'work magic' to prevent layoffs

Posted July 23, 2013

— The Wake County Public School System said Tuesday that the proposed state budget would leave them with a $5.5 million hole in funding for teachers and teacher assistants, but they hope to move money around to avoid layoffs. 

David Neter, chief financial officer for Wake schools, said after Tuesday night's school board meeting that, despite earlier projections that the district would have to cut 400 teacher assistant jobs, his staff is trying to "work our magic" to prevent a reduction in force.

But the Board of Education said it's still concerned about a downward trend in per-student spending. In 2008, Wake County spent $8,060 per pupil. In 2012, that figure was down to about $7,650.

"What message are we sending when our investment in our children and students continues to dwindle?" asked school board Chairman Keith Sutton. 

Lawmakers are expected to give final approval Wednesday to the $20.6 billion spending plan, which leaves North Carolina ranked 46th in the country in per-pupil spending and 48th in the country for teacher pay. It spends less on K-12 education than the House's initial budget proposal and falls short on Gov. Pat McCrory's recommendation to provide raises for teachers in 2013-14.

David Neter Moving money could prevent teacher assistant layoffs

School board members said they were disappointed not to see the salary increase.

"If you want to treat them like one of the most important professions in the world, you have to pay them like that," said board member John Tedesco. 

School system leaders are still waiting on final allotments from the state, which will help them determine precisely how the district budget will be affected. 

Also at Tuesday's school board meeting, members decided to wait before selling a 5.5-acre tract of land at 3600 Wake Forest Road, which formerly served as the central offices for the school system, for $5.1 million. School board members said the offer was simply too low.

The board will revisit the offer to purchase the property, which was recently appraised at $6.8 million, in 100 days. The potential buyer was not disclosed. 

They also voted to offer $100 bonuses to current teachers who refer a special education teacher, resulting in a hire. The district currently has 50 vacancies for special education teachers.

24 Comments

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  • superman Jul 25, 11:54 a.m.

    My neighbor recently purchased a new boat and they have a son startintg college this fall. To me that was wasterful spending. How and why they spend money is a personal opinion. The school budget is probably well over 1 billion dollars. It is very complex and complicated and unless you have worked in a school finance office you cannot begin to understand.

  • superman Jul 25, 11:52 a.m.

    ericsgrowing You just have absolutely no knowledge of a schools budget. Most of the teachers are paid by the state. Once a local school budget is approved by the Board as well as the County Commissions money cannot be easily moved. Do you realize that the school has a local budget, state budget, federal budget, school food service budget and capital outlay? Before you suggest they make changes and move money around you need to understand that you cannot legally use money that was budget for something else. For example you cannot use money that is alloted for School Instructional Supples for Office Equipment. For local funding the finance director would be required to do a budget admendment which the BOE would have to approve and then it would be submitted to the CC. The other budgets give absolutely no discretion in how the money is spent.

  • brassy Jul 24, 4:41 p.m.

    Agree about wasteful spending. I'm amazed by the amount of nonsense I hear out of WCPSS from fractioning calculators to kids being sent home for wearing a sleeveless tshirt. Somebody somewhere is wasting their days deciding precisely what brand and style of shoes the kids have to buy to walk in graduation. Fire them instead.

  • ericsgrowing Jul 24, 3:37 p.m.

    Let's face it. There is a ton of wasteful spending by Wake county and the school system. My fiance is a teacher and she tells me about the wasteful things the county does. The could easily take funds from one portion of their budget and use that money for teachers. I have had that argument for quite some time. They seem to have a ton of overhead and a lot of money being paid to things that truly don't make a big difference. It amazes me how people don't think that there are enough funds. There is plenty of funds, but Wake county schools does not proportion the money appropriately. They should absolutely make concessions in some areas in order to at least provide teachers a better pay.

    That is the real issue! It is the Wake School board's fault for not managing their funds properly. Blame them... not the general assembly.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Jul 24, 3:32 p.m.

    They can work some of their hidden magic with the school bond too.

    I'll be voting no.

  • Bill Brasky Jul 24, 3:16 p.m.

    This is going to not only hurt this state economically, cause more unemployment, but what Republican law makers don't seem to understand is that a large amount of teachers in NC happen to be Republican, and they are not furious about the downward path the NC GOP is leading us. They are telling their friends and families, I do not see this going well for state Republicans in 2014.

  • Groogrux Jul 24, 2:00 p.m.

    Homesteader, Ive taught here 13 years. I own a home. I raised my kids here. I have friends and community connections. Quality of life is pretty good (getting worse?). I also love teaching. These things for now keep me teaching in NC.

  • Homesteader79 Jul 24, 1:15 p.m.

    The most amazing thing to me is why anyone in their right mind would teach in North Carolina to begin with. Economics 101- if demand is higher than supply, the cost for the supply goes up. I don't buy into any teacher excuse about pay since they would make more working at McDonald's. Since you can't go on strike, simply quit and see what the State does next....

  • btneast Jul 24, 1:13 p.m.

    But why is the staff at headquarters making almost that? How many reading and math coordinator specialists do we need?

    Reading and math coordinators are just the tip of the administrative iceberg. Also, the building on Wake Forest Rd were the Superintendent has his office is what most people think is where all of the staff is.....far from it. There used to be two buildings in Cary, Crossroads I and II that housed two floors each of administrative staff. I think they have since consolidated into one building.

  • Groogrux Jul 24, 1:07 p.m.

    El Scorcho,
    maybe we should get rid of computers too. I certainly didn't need those to learn when I was growing up.

    When I see students pour chocolate milk on their Lucky Charms as part of their free breakfast, I think they are not getting off to a good start.

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