Local News

Wake commissioners talk state funding cuts

Posted August 10, 2009 7:20 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2009 7:37 p.m. EDT

— The Wake County Board of Commissioners began talking Monday about how the state budget, signed last week by Gov. Beverly Perdue, will affect various departments.

Two-thirds of the funding for the county's school system comes from the state, and 80 percent of its costs are in salaries.

Wake schools will lose approximately $21 million worth of state funding, and that will likely result in larger class sizes and educators' jobs lost.

The state budget also cuts $600,000 from the sheriff’s office budget for the county jail. In addition, the state will also no longer pay a $350,000 lease for probation offices. The state is also withholding $500,000 in ABC liquor store revenues.

Cuts to Wake Technical Community College, human services, transit and libraries have yet to be determined.

Wake schools have been anticipating state funding cuts and have yet to renew contracts for nearly 1,500 teachers.

"Clearly, there were major cuts to education and major cuts to human services, and that is very difficult with the number of teachers that may lose their jobs due to cuts as the state level,” Commissioner Joe Bryan said.

School board officials said they are still determining where funding cuts will be made.

Perdue said last week that she would have preferred a budget that raised more revenue and cut less from education, but she recognized lawmakers had made tough decisions in trying to erase a projected $4.6 billion deficit.

The state budget includes $990 million in new revenue, mostly from a one-cent increase to the sales tax rate. It also includes higher taxes on tobacco and alcohol and a surcharge on the tax liability of businesses and top wage earners.