Wake County Schools

Wake County Commissioners, school board to discuss school funding

Posted October 30, 2017 5:06 p.m. EDT
Updated July 13, 2018 9:55 a.m. EDT

— Wake County Commissioners met with members of the Wake County school board Monday night to discuss plans to move forward on school construction projects.

The largest expense in the Wake County budget is education and a big portion of that funding goes to the Wake County Public School System.

Student population increases every year, as does the request for money from the county. New schools must be built through bonds to accommodate the new students, and district officials say mandates from the state require additional funding.

County Commissioners have a growing interest in how the millions of dollars allocated for use by the school district are spent. In the past, there have been differences in opinion between commissioners and school board members about how the money should be used.

In a joint meeting Monday night, Wake County Commissioners and school board members talked about strategic plans for education and building new schools in the county.

Recently, commissioners and school board members have been working on a 7-year plan to make funding needs more predictable for both sides. Some think a 7-year plan might also work for the school system's operating budget, as a way of avoiding the annual fight over funding.

"So we don't have the annual budget fight between the two boards. We can work more collaboratively together, meet the needs and plan for them, just like we do with construction," said Wake County Commissioner Erv Portman.

Some, however, say operating costs are less predictable than school building plans.

"That has to be a large part of that conversation, asking us how much it cost us to do this for the next seven years could be very different," said Wake County school board chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler.

There was also talks of a nearly $1 billion school building bond that could go before voters next year.