Wake board weighs how to fill budget gap

April 18, 2012 2:14:51 PM PDT
There was more turmoil at Tuesday evening's meeting of the Wake County School Board.

Once again, frustrated parents vented their concerns about the new school assignment plan. Meanwhile, board members were trying to figure out how to smooth over a nearly $3 million budget hole.

"The future does not look very bright for the students of Wake County," said Wake County teacher Marcella Cox.

Cox, a former Wake County teacher of the year, urged the board not to short change kids.

"Asking us to sacrifice is no way to recruit and retain inspiring educators," said Cox.

However, there may not be a choice. Wake schools are slated to lose about $1 million more from state funds than originally expected.

Now, administrators want to cut about $2 million from school supplies and likely layoff some non-classroom employees. That move comes as the board weighs a $1.2 billion budget.

"This is an economic disaster waiting to happen for our county," said Tacker LeCarpentier, of Raleigh.

Piled atop budget woes were cries from parents who picked their choice schools weeks ago and are still waiting.

"I'm sorry I bought a house here because my child can't go where they're supposed to go," said Joel Fleischman, of Cary.

There's was also anger over newly proposed leadership academies.

"We understand the school system is planning to locate two high school leadership academies on our tiny campus," said Susan Murray, a Peace alumnae.

William Peace, formerly Peace College, used to admit only women. But some say admitting Wake County students on a campus that's undergone so much change could create a problem.

"You will not be welcomed here," said Murray. "Everyone resents the fact that current students are being pushed aside to accommodate public high school students."

The agreement between William Peace and the school district is fluid.

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