Wake County Schools

Wake school board talks Tata's budget proposal

Posted April 5, 2011 1:31 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2011 7:06 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County Board of Education is expected to discuss Superintendent Tony Tata’s proposed budget during the board's regular meeting on Tuesday night.

Tata’s $1.25 billion budget proposal prioritizes teacher retention and classroom investment in the face of a projected $2 billion to $3 billion state budget shortfall next year.

The school district will cut 46 central services clerical positions, reduce contract months for assistant principals and reduce per-student spending by $52 next year, Tata said, while funneling additional resources toward teacher retention in under-enrolled schools and creating new technology and international studies programs in ten schools.

Twenty of the positions to be cut are vacant, according to school district leaders. One clerical position at each school would also be cut in Tata's proposal.

The district plans to eliminate 181 months of employment for assistant principals, and Tata said he hopes to reduce contracts rather than eliminate positions altogether.

During a committee meeting earlier Tuesday, members decided to ask the full board to vote in favor of the reduction, which would put assistant principals on a 10-month contract instead of a 12-month contract. 

Tata requested a county appropriation of $313.5 million, the same as the school system got last year, despite projections of an additional 3,400 students enrolling in the district.

He plans to stabilize five traditional elementary schools that are either under-enrolled or have lost significant populations by retaining teachers, which will keep class sizes small and maintain or improve current teacher-student ratios. Tata said this retention will make under-enrolled schools more attractive to parents.

Hillburn Drive, Root and Jeffreys Grove elementary schools are currently at the top of the list, Tata said, but those choices could change depending on where students are assigned next year.

Tata has requested board approval for $895,661 for teachers at those schools. The board is expected to make a decision on the topic on Tuesday. 

Possible track changes for some year-round schools

On Tuesday, Tata suggested that principals at schools with less than 100 percent enrollment be allowed to change their single track schedule for the 2011-2012 school year. The schools in question are Alston Ridge, Ballentine, Banks Road, East Garner, Harris Creek, Highcroft, Lake Myra, Rand Road, River Bend, Timber Drive, Wakefield and West Lake elementary schools; and East Cary and Holly Grove middle schools.

The single track, Tata said, would help save $50,000 per school by lowering staffing expenses.

Because year-round schools rotate four "tracks" of students through a schedule of nine weeks of classes and three-week vacations, the schools can accommodate more students than traditional schools. One track is always on break.