Local News

Wake County schools find good and bad in state budget

Posted September 15, 2015 10:51 p.m. EDT

There’s good news and bad news for the Wake County Public School System in the new compromise state budget and school leaders said Tuesday that it will mean a few adjustments in their own budget.

Wake County school leaders waited more than two months for the compromise budget. Chief business officer, David Neter said there are some good points in it.

“Driver’s education funding is restored,” Neter said.

There is extra money for textbooks, teachers get varying increases through raises and one-time bonuses, and last year’s funding for teaching assistants is maintained.

However, there are some downsides as well.

“The removal of flexibility will hamper us a bit,” Neter said.

The budget proposal requires teaching assistant funding to be used for teaching assistants only. In the past, the school district used some of that money in other areas, including for more full-time teachers. They did that again this year, before the late General Assembly budget was released.

“When we convert resources, it is at the beginning of the year, so we are going to have to go back and retroactively look at how we undo those and what pain that might cause,” Neter said.

A recent survey presented to school board members asked residents across North Carolina what they thought of the public school system. It was conducted for the Z Smith Reynolds Foundation, a left-leaning group.

Concerns included teacher pay and quality of curriculum.

“We need to make sure that we are communicating with community members and making sure they recognize the good things going on in Wake County public schools,” said school board chair, Christine Kushner.

Wake County School Board members will get a look at recommended changes to their budget next month.

Driver’s education, which had been suspended in Wake County, should be reinstated when the state budget takes effect.