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Wake Schools Will Ask for $35M Budget Boost

The increase means the system will ask county commissioners for $335.7 million for 2008-09, which is about a third of the system's overall budget.

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Wake County Public School System
RALEIGH, N.C. — The Wake County school system Tuesday made public its 2008-09 budget, including a request for a $35 million increase – 11.6 percent – in the allocation from the county commissioners, to accommodate an expected increase of more than 6,000 students.

The boost would bring the county's piece of the schools' operating budget to $335.7 million. The state supplies 61 percent of the school costs, the county 33 percent and the federal government 6 percent. That puts the total budget for the next year at about $1.02 billion.

The budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 would allocate $140 more in per-pupil spending, which Superintendent Del Burns said was approximately a 6 percent boost.

The budget is part of a package the school system calls the Plan for Student Success.

“Just to meet the needs of students currently in our schools requires millions of dollars in additional local funding for legislative staffing mandates,” Burns said in a statement. “That’s before we tackle elimination of the achievement gap or consider meeting the needs of 6,000 additional students and opening three new schools."

Burns also said the budget is part of a plan to raise students' performance and to close achievement gaps "between a child’s performance and potential -- both for our struggling and academically gifted students.”

The proposed budget allocates $16.4 million for the tree new elementary schools – Mills Park Elementary, Laurel Park Elementary and Sycamore Creek Elementary.

It allocates $10.1 million to meet state-mandated increases for existing staff.

The district said it also had found $8.3 million in savings from the 2007-08 budget, either making reductions or dropping items that were one-time.expenses in the current year.

In announcing the budget request, the system said it would soon announce what it's done to implement recommendations from a curriculum management audit that it commissioned.

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Erin Hartness, Reporter
Ron Gallagher, Web Editor

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