Local News

Wake school board cuts budget, moves funds

Posted December 2, 2008 4:02 p.m. EST
Updated December 2, 2008 11:03 p.m. EST

School Funding (Generic)

— The Wake County School Board passed a budget reduction proposal on Tuesday in an effort to accommodate a combined $11 million cut in state and county funding.

The proposal included cuts of $1 million for classroom and instructional supplies and $950,000 for vehicle replacements and bus purchases.

"Anytime you cut back, it is going to have an impact,” board member Patti Head said.

The school system is allotted $90 a student, and the cuts amount to approximately $7.25 less being spent on each child.

The proposal also outlines other sources of funds to offset reduced income:

  • Appropriating $2 million left over from the Capital Outlay fund
  • More than $3 million in savings due to under-enrollment.
  • $490,000 from lapsed salaries from vacant positions in the Academically and Intellectually Gifted and Career and Technical Education departments.
  • A carryover of $998,000 for last year’s At-Risk programs
  • $750,000 left over from the School Technology Fund
  • $1.7 million from freezing out-of-state travel, reducing expense budgets at the Central Services, by 3 percent and increasing Central Services' position freeze from 60 to 90 days.

The board was trying to find cuts to accommodate nearly $5.5 million less in state money and $5.7 million less in county funding.

"When looking at savings, we went on a line-by-line basis,” said David Neter, Wake County Schools financial officer.

On Monday, the new Wake County Board of Commissioners asked the district to cut its budget by $5.7 million.

"I am sorry to see that the budget cuts are having to be made, but I have complete confidence in the school system and the school board to make the appropriate decisions with regard to where the cuts will occur," said Sarah Martin, president of the Wake County PTA Council.

Superintendent Del Burns asked the commissioners for fiscal leniency, noting the district already has had to give back about $5.5 million in state funding because of a growing state budget deficit.

"We do not have anywhere we can pull money from except from the classroom,” said Rosa Gill, the board's chairwoman.

County officials said they would work with the district, but noted that tough decisions need to be made to balance the budget. County departments have already been asked to look for ways to cut 4 percent this year and 10 percent next year.