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Agreement Reached in Wake School Funding

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RALEIGH — The Wake County Board of Commissioners and theWake County Board of Education finally have reached a compromise regardingschool funding from local funds. The agreement covers the 1997-98 budgetyear, and a budget process was also put in place for at least the nextfive years.

A statement submitted by J. Stewart Adcock, commission chairman, andRoxie Cash, board of education chairman, said the funding process agreedupon by the boards is designed to give the board of education the funds itneeds while also providing accountability.

For the 1997-98 budget, schools will receive an additional $1.1million, which will be added to the approximately $117 million alreadyappropriated by the commissioners. The additional funds will addressschool system needs that are out of the board of education's control --such as salary increases provided by the General Assembly, or growth inlocal student population that can be greater than provided for by thestate.

For future years, the new process has been devised to provide adequatefunding as well as align fiscal responsibility with the policy makingresponsibility held by the board of education. For the 1998-99 schoolbudget, the base county appropriation to the schools will be $130 million,or equivalent to 35 cents of the county property tax rate, whichever isgreater.

After fiscal year 1998-99, if the board of education determines that 35cents of the tax rate is insufficient, it may ask that the education taxrate be increased. The county commissioners will levy the tax raterequested by the board of education, unless 2/3 of the countycommissioners vote otherwise.

Five years down the road, the boards will review the process to modifyit if need be.

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