Local News

Wake School Leaders Unveil 2007-2008 Proposed Budget

Posted March 6, 2007 5:20 p.m. EST
Updated March 6, 2007 8:00 p.m. EST

— Seeking to keep pace with what is expected to be thousands of new students in the Wake County Public School System, Superintendent Del Burns on Tuesday presented a proposed budget of more than $1.1 billion for the 2007-2008 school year -- an increase of nearly $75 million from last year.

The system's budget does not include any new academic programs and focuses mostly on growth, Burns said. About $16.5 million is earmarked to open seven new schools and meet the needs of an additional 8,000 students, bringing the total number of students enrolled to about 136,000.

In comparison, last year's student enrollment grew by about 7,500.

Other highlights of the budget include $9.6 million for salary and benefit, $4.4 million for new programs, $3.3 million for Board of Education commitments and $2.9 million for fiscal accountability, rate increases, facility leases and safety and security.

The plan also includes about $4.6 million in savings, removing one-time costs from the previous year and budget reductions.

The school system receives 61 percent of its funding from the state, 33 percent from local government and 6 percent from the federal government.

Wake County's portion, if approved, would top $305 million -- an increase from last year of $29.4 million.

The swelling budget comes at a time when County Commissioners and school leaders have haggled over money.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners recently withheld several million dollars from a nearly billion-dollar school construction bond to convert 22 schools to a year-round schedule.

The school board will have several work sessions on the budget and public hearings on March 20 and April 10. A final decision is expected in late April.