Wake County Schools

Budget cuts threaten Wake schools again

Posted November 22, 2010 9:15 p.m. EST
Updated November 23, 2010 6:05 a.m. EST

Wake County Public School System

— The state’s largest public school system could see hundreds of layoffs in the classroom under potential state budget cuts, according to data released Monday.

The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction said that more than 400 teachers and 73 teaching assistants in the Wake County Public School System could be laid off under a proposed plan to cut the DPI budget 5 percent.

The state is facing approximately $3.5 billion in potential budget cuts, and Gov. Beverly Perdue has asked state agencies to draw up a list of spending cuts of between 5 and 15 percent.

The layoffs could be on the low end. The State Budget Office told educations officials to also lay out what a 10 percent budget cut would mean, as well.

For Wake County, that would be nearly $70 million in reductions.

These numbers are not certain though, Wake schools spokesman Michael Evans said.

"We are so far away from actually making firm decisions and any sort of cuts. It is premature to speculate, but we know it is going to hurt,” Evans said. “We know it is going to affect schools, but we are going to do all we can to minimize this impact."

The school system has had to deal with budget cuts over the past few years.

This year, the state cuts are on top of federal stimulus money set to run out next year.

Superintendent of Public Instruction June Atkinson on Monday called the potential cuts “alarming,” saying they would mean larger classes, fewer courses and less support for struggling students.

"When you look at our budget there, we have no place else to go," she said.