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Wake schools look to cut $15 million in costs

Posted June 21
Updated June 22

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— The Wake County Public School System approved an interim budget Tuesday night as they continue to wait on state legislators to determine how much funding the district will receive for the 2016-2017 school year.

School officials said that the interim budget will keep the district operational past the beginning of the new fiscal year on July 1. The budget will be finalized once members of the General Assembly determine state funding levels for schools and approve a budget, the district said.

The proposed Wake County budget increases funding to schools, but there is an $11.8 million gap between the $35.7 million the district requested and the $23.9 million increase proposed by the county.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to approve a $1.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Commissioner Betty Lou Ward tried to add $5 million to the budget to help the Wake County Public School System to deal with growth, but her motion failed 2-5.

“We know that we will not receive enough local funding to cover the cost of growth, legislative impacts, and maintaining current programs,” school officials said in a press release.

The district said staff members are currently looking to identify ways to cut about $15 million in costs from their proposed $1.5 billion budget.

“Over the next several weeks, our staff will develop a list of possible options to close the funding gap,” school officials said. “We are already a very lean and efficient organization, so virtually any cut affects classrooms.”

School officials said they do not anticipate any layoffs as part of their cost cutting measures.

Staff members are expected to present a list of possible budget cuts to the school board at the July 19 meeting.

If the General Assembly approves a state spending plan by June 30, the district expects to finalize their budget in August.


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  • Daryl Hales Jun 22, 1:01 p.m.
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    also i forgot, all TA's work 2 or 3 jobs!

  • Daryl Hales Jun 22, 12:59 p.m.
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    I agree with you, however, there is alot of misconception about Wake County Schools. What would teachers do, if their salaries were cut like TA's. Teacher Assistants only get paid for 9 months instead of 10 (like Teachers), plus they don't get the supplements from county. Also TA's were included in last year budget, that passed, to be reinstated back to full time, which did not happen. Why does the assistant superintendent need an assistant? There are too many administration jobs that could be cut and that money be put in the classroom where it is needed. When you have too many high positions, the lesser positions get cut. In this life there are 2 kinds of people users and doers. Users ( administrators) get paid high salaries and have little effect on anything, Doers Teachers, TA's, Bus Drivers, Custodians) are the ones that get the job done, no matter what, with whatever resources they have

  • Walter Honeycutt Jun 22, 11:43 a.m.
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    I'm not denying there isn't fat to be cut, but before those of you start on last year's teacher pay increase keep in mind many of us work 2 jobs plus go to school to maintain certain level of professional development (at our own expense) just to attempt to educate your kids. Our level of income is sub par to the majority of you.......spare me the "but you chose to teach" .....i did. Someone has to do it.

  • Nick Holt Jun 22, 11:37 a.m.
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    This is a misleading title as is found with most biased media when dealing with budget matters. It is not a cut but a reduction in the overall increase from the prior year. They are still receiving over $23 million more than they had last year.

  • Shandy Scott Jun 22, 9:25 a.m.
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    Charles you are 100% spot on. Like to add last year Merrill embarrassed himself when he was stating that we are losing all these teachers and that we have to increase their pay. The facts according to NC Public Schools are the turnover rate for teachers in NC is 14.2%. In Wake County it is 11.5% but if you breakdown the reason for leaving .05% left for personal reasons which include many things including pay and job dissatisfaction. We as taxpayers must watch Merrill!!!!

  • Charles Clark Jun 22, 7:20 a.m.
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    I hope you all understand this is all just a dog and pony show and the liberal biased WRAL is participating. Every year there are budget proposals. The schools ask for a bit more than they can get from the Wake County Board of Commissioners. The General Assembly usually approves budget that is reflective of the school systems needs. Now here is the political spin. The school system can then scream "we have to make cuts because the mean ol' right will not fully fund us". The WCPSS is not cutting from last year, they are cutting from the "wish for" budget they proposed. WRAL participates by headlining "Wake Co schools look to cut $15M in costs". A right biased spin would have been " Massive increase in WCPSS spending approved on top of largest teacher pay raises in over a decade". The truth, just like the budget proposals, lies somewhere between.

  • Shandy Scott Jun 22, 6:33 a.m.
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    I feel sorry for Wake County Schools. They are going to have to start doing what everyone else does by doing more with less. We the taxpayers have given them 80% of a billion dollars and two consecutive tax increases plus an average of a 5% assessment increase and they change the assessment period from every eight years to every four years which is another increase.

  • Katie Miller Jun 21, 9:55 p.m.
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    It is all the administrative costs. Schools have to have extra programs for summer school, evening classes, Saturday classes, etc. Look at the salaries of principals and Central Office staff. All over 100,000 dollars. Years ago, there was a public information officer making over 100,000.

  • Demute Sainte Jun 21, 8:30 p.m.
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    A total budget of $1.2 BILLION dollars for the year, that reflects a sizable increase over last years budget, and teachers got a very decent raise... and yet the district is whining for even more!

    Taxpayers already pony up almost $10,000 per student per year.... surely there is some waste that could be cut.

    There has to be a better, more efficient, more effective way to educate our children... because throwing more and more money at the problem is unsustainable, and is not yielding the same results as other nations.