Budget forecast bleak for Wake schools

Posted February 2, 2010 10:32 p.m. EST
Updated February 4, 2010 9:58 a.m. EST

— More tough times are likely ahead for Wake County schools. That's the message school board members heard Tuesday.

David Neter, chief business officer for the Wake County Public School System, told the Board of Education that anywhere from 75 to 100 filled positions across all areas of central services could be eliminated for the next school year.

The superintendent's proposed budget for 2010-2011 will include a $20 million reduction in central services that, Neter said, will affect the school system's ability to support schools.

"That is significant in size," he said of the job cuts. "Yet it is necessary to meet the $20 million reduction we must."

The reduction will also include the elimination of positions that have been vacant since a hiring freeze went into effect in November 2008.

"We're already feeling the impact of the support of those positions," he said. "Once they're eliminated, that temporary loss of support becomes permanent."

There will also be significant reductions proposed in the area of contracted services and non-personnel services.

"This too will impact our ability to support the schools," Neter said. "Response and resolution times will likely go up. Certain services will either be curtailed or eliminated."

The school system is already reeling from a $35 million budget reduction that last year cut about 500 positions, mostly teachers and teaching assistants.

School board member John Tedesco said that, although the expected cuts will help, the school system can't afford to keep cutting.

"We just went through a large round of teacher cuts last year, and we think our teachers need to be protected," he said. "The reality is we need help. We need help on the ground. We need our state legislators and our governor to get in the game."