Wake County Schools

Blog: Budget, voting districts before Wake school board

Posted April 26, 2011 10:10 a.m. EDT
Updated April 27, 2011 11:44 a.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

4:00 p.m. - Redistricting Maps

The school board asked staff to post a newly proposed board of education voter district map on the Wake County Schools website. The goal is to give the public time to review the map before a public hearing next month.

With the majority of the seats on the Wake County Board of Education up for election this year the issue of new voter districts has been a heated one.

District lines must be redrawn every 10 years based on U.S. census data. According to school board policy, the maps must be drawn up by June 24, after a series of public hearings.
The filing period for school board candidates begins on July 25. 

Current school board member districts

At  Tuesday's meeting members of the Shanahan Law Group presented a new proposed voter redistricting map to the board members. The new map changes district lines some to have roughly about 100,000 voters per district.

On Feb. 1, the board approved some of the firm's proposed guidelines, including:

  • Making all districts consist of equal populations
  • Not splitting precincts, except when needed to conform with federal law
  • Considering redistricting plans that would increase minority representation on the board
  • New boundaries should not be drawn to take incumbents out of their districts
  • In analyzing district population balance, political party registration should not be taken into account.

Board member Keith Sutton expressed some concern that the firm only created one map to take forward for public opinion instead of multiple options.

Some community groups have criticized the school board's lack of openness in the process of coming up with a new map.

The Wake County League of Women Voters and Great Schools in Wake County recently proposed their own version to push the process forward.

The board agreed to post the Shanahan Law Group's version of the map on the Wake Schools website for review and set a public hearing date on the issue for May 10.

3:00 p.m. - More budget talk focused on some possible deep cuts ahead.

The  board must adopt a proposed Wake County schools budget at next week's meeting, well in advance of the final state budget.

The superintendent's proposed budget plans for a five percent cut in state funding. A recently proposed House version of the state budget could put those cuts closer to ten percent.

On Tuesday, WCPSS staff talked to board members about what the House version of the budget would mean for Wake schools if approved.

The House proposal only funds teaching assistants for kindergarten and first grade. Wake schools staff says they would look to a three-step process to help absorb the deeper cuts. The first step would be to reduce TA contracts from 10 months to 9.25 months. Next, staff would recommend eliminating some TA positions as their current contracts end. Finally, staff says it could have to cut some existing teaching assistant positions to make up the budget gap.

Chief Business Officer David Neeter says the House proposal would also mean at least an additional $4.5 million cut to non-instructional support and a $500,000 cut to central services. Neeter says that would require cutting even more staff positions.

He says the Wake schools would also be looking at even deeper cuts to school transportation and academically gifted programs.

Neeter also cautioned that this is only a proposal from the House and nothing is set in stone yet.

2:00 p.m. - School board talks proposed budget.

This is the school board's second work session on Superintendent Tata's proposed budget. At the last meeting board member Chris Malone asked how much staff time has been spent on current pending lawsuits and how much has been spent  in additional security costs.

Chief of Staff Terri Cobb says the total cost for private security, law enforcement and overtime for school board since December 2009 is $38, 589.63

Staff presented the following breakdown of hours spent so far on three pending  lawsuits.

Garlock vs. Board of Education:

Superintendent's Office: 10 hours

Instructional Services: 7 hours3:00

Security: 25 hours


Superintendent's Office: 30 hours

Growth and Planning: 4 hours

Instructional Services: 105.5 hours

Security: 2 hours

Area Superintendents: 10 hours

Communications: 22 hours

OCR Complaint:

Growth and Planning: 65 hours

Superintendent's Office: 10 hours

Security: 6 hours

Area Superintendents: 10 hours

Technology Services: 20 hours

Schools: 328 hours

Instructional Services: 143.2 hours

Communications: 10 hours

1:00 p.m. - The full Wake County school board convenes

Among the main topics the board is expected to discuss at Tuesday's work session: Superintendent Tony Tata's proposed budget, redistricting board member districts and AdvanceED recommendations.

The board's full agenda list for Tuesday includes:

  • Offer by Board of Commissioners to Perform Certain Functions
  • Superintendent's Proposed Budget 2011-2012 Budget Work Session
  • Update on Redistricting
  • Revision to the Mission, Vision, and Values
  • A Review of the Process for Addressing AdvancED Recommendations
  • Revisions/Amendments to Policies Related to specific policies within the 6300 and 6400 Series Board Policy 6300, 6400, 6405, 6410, 6420, 6424, 6425, 6426, 6427, 6429, 6440, 6445, 6447, 6450, 6500, 653