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Wake School Leaders Make $305 Million Budget Request

The Wake County school board has requested $305 million to keep up with growth and the influx of students. But county commissioners said that couldn’t be done without a tax increase.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — The Wake County school board has requested $305 million for the next fiscal year to keep up with growth and the influx of students, but some county commissioners said taxes shouldn't be raised to fulfil the request.

With a $970 million school bond that passed last November, Wake County taxpayers are already getting a property tax hike. County Manager David Cooke hinted that the Wake County Board of Commissioners could allocate about $294 million to the school system without raising taxes even higher, but not the rest of the request.

School board members said an expected increase of 8,000 students, new schools slated to open, and state-mandated teacher pay raises are driving their budget request.

“We feel that this is a bare-bones budget that we're bringing to them,” school board chair Patti Head said.

The budget request is a $29 million increase over the 2006-07 budget. County commissioners said the school system could have more money allocated to it, but it would be significantly less than the request unless property taxes were raised.

Head said the quality of the school system will suffer if cuts are made.

“We just can't survive on a budget that is significantly less than what we're asking,” Head said.

Cooke said his budget recommendation will cover the cost of new students and operating the new schools that are set to open.

The school board and commissioners are scheduled to meet Wednesday in a joint work session. Cooke said he will make his budget recommendation next Monday.


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