WCSS requests additional money

March 18, 2008 9:00:00 PM PDT
Wake County School Board members say additional money is needed to keep up with growth, inflation and increase in salaries.

They argue it is a "no frills" budget request and will only maintain benefits now provided to Wake County students.

It is going to take a lot of finagling to convince Wake County commissioners the school system really needs millions of extra dollars.

"The county has $75 million of needs and wants that have been presented. Of that, $35 million is coming from the school system," Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan said.

It is a request of more than $330 million coming from the county in all; a significant increase from last year's budget.

"A 12 percent increase is more than growth, more than inflation --it's going to be a difficult request to make," Bryan said.

The school board is making a strong case warning of big cuts to existing programs if they get less money.

"There could be cutting of classes, of electives. We may have to look at reducing human resources," School Board Chair Rosa Gill said. "We might even be talking about cutting out some of our athletic programs."

To put their request in perspective, school board staff is doing the math - figuring out how much higher the budget request would be if the county spent as much per pupil as the Charlotte-Mecklenburg School System.

With that scenario, the county's request would more than double.

The school board will have two more work sessions to tweak the list of potential cuts before they meet with county commissioners Tuesday.


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