Wake school board has fingers crossed for funding needs

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The school board met during its regularly scheduled Tuesday night work session and board meeting. Funding was a heavy topic.

The Wake County School Board chair said they are crossing their fingers that funding comes through from the state and the county to meet their proposed budget of $1.6 billion.

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The board met during its regularly scheduled Tuesday night work session and board meeting. Finance Officer Mark Winters, with the district spent some of that work session comparing the state House and Senate budget and what that means for the Wake County Public School System.

"The positives, there are salary increases in there. The certified staff had great benefits, so teachers had great benefits and salaries going up, I mean it averaged I believe 3-percent in the Senate and maybe a little bit higher in the House," Winters said.

"The biggest issue we have right now is almost $5 million where the Senate has taken away flexibility within the budget. The House doesn't have that in it right now which protects us a little bit," said Winters. "If we have flexibility with our funds, to move them from account to account, we get better use of our money."

He pointed out that could help get better use of their money when it comes to local dollars, which is key.

The school district is asking the Wake County Commission for just more than $455.1 million, an increase of $45 million from last year's budget. Right now, recommendation from the county manager comes with only a $16 million increase.

Monday night, members of the public spoke out against that number in a public hearing with commissioners.

PREVIOUS STORY: Wake Co. residents urge full school funding at hearing

"They hear this isn't just our budget or our priorities but it speaks to the community."

Continuing conversation to our commissioners," said Monika Johnson-Hostler, school board chair.

One budget priority brought up by the public at the school board meeting had to do with what has been a continuing public fight over racism in schools. Most recently we reported about a teddy bear hanging from a noose at Wakefield High School.

RELATED: 4 students ID'd in Wakefield High School noose incident

"We don't know what the county is going to do for the budget but we are asking you and pleading you to please remember the equity team because um, racism has not stopped," said community activist Geraldine Alshamy.

"Severe consequences rather than a mere slap on the wrist must be dealt to the offenders," said Rev. Dr. Portia Rochelle, President of the Raleigh-Apex chapter of the NAACP.

The county is scheduled to vote on its budget Monday, June 19.

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