Local News

Wake School Board Bumps Request for Budget Boost

Posted April 22, 2008 3:51 p.m. EDT
Updated April 22, 2008 9:17 p.m. EDT

Wake County Public School System

— The Wake County School Board voted Tuesday to ask the county for an increase of more than $54 million in its contribution to the 2008-2009 operating budget

The new budget plan, which represents a $19 million increase from the raise in the board's previous request to the county commissioners, includes funding for gang prevention, literacy and streaming all school board meetings live over the Internet.

“I really consider this budget a budget of aspiration. These are the things that we want to have for our students going forward,” said school board member Beverly Clark.

The board said the new budget request is still less money per student than the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school district expends.

The total operating budget for 2008-09 for the system would be $1.42 billion. The county's contribution, which is combined with state and some federal funding, would be a third of the total.

In early March, school district administrators said they would likely need an extra $35 million, an increase of 12 percent from last year, from the county commissioners for the 2008-09 school year. Several weeks later, administrators said they expected growth in the local tax base would provide almost half of that amount.

Board member Ron Marigotta expressed concern about the budget.

“I think we should be more responsible and develop a better working relationship with our county commissioners and come up with some funds that we can agree on,” Marigotta said.

The budget will now go to the Board of Commissioners for approval.

Board Chair Joe Bryan said the request is "way out of line with other departments" seeking funding. Bryan said the request is more than  what the County could spend without a property tax increase. He said it would take a 3.5- to 4-cent-per-hundred property tax increase dedicated entirely to schools to fund the request.