Wake County Schools

Wake classrooms protected, but other cuts loom

Posted June 17, 2011 10:16 a.m. EDT
Updated June 17, 2011 11:25 a.m. EDT

— Classroom positions in Wake County will be protected and some new teachers will be hired, but hundreds of jobs will be lost in administrative, custodial, clerical and transportation services under the state budget that became law Wednesday, school officials said.

The $19.7-billion budget provided funding to protect teachers and teachers' assistants in kindergarten and grades 1-3, Superintendent Tony Tata said Friday. Each elementary school in the county will also gain a teacher.

Overall, Wake County schools will receive about $40 million less under this year's state budget than the previous one, Chief Business Officer David Neeter said. Federal funds of $30 million left over from last year will help make up the difference.

The state budget tripled discretionary cuts from $4 million in earlier versions of the budget, to $12 million. Those cuts include:

  • $4 million from non-instructional support
  • $1 million from transportation services
  • $850,000 from the Central Office

Mostly custodial positions will be cut, along with some additional Central Office jobs, Tata said. Those are in addition to the loss of 165 clerical and 47 Central Office positions made in the $1.25 billion budget adopted by the school board in May.

Teacher's assistants pay could also be cut by about 7.5 percent. Neeter said he would request the school board to cut their contracts from 10 to 9.25 months.

The budget law also increases the school year from 181 to 185 days, which will incur additional transportation costs and eliminate some teacher workdays, the superintendent said. He expects that year-round schools, which could be over-crowded, will get waivers to make up the hours in different ways.

Next year, Wake County schools could face a $27 million shortfall in state and federal funds, Tata said, adding that he's already looking at ways to deal with that.