For Wake schools, that means finding $5.5 million from the current budget.
In a letter, Wake County's Board of Commissioners plead with school leaders to trim $5.7 million from its budget, because of an anticipated $17 million shortfall in the county.
And as board members learned Tuesday, the cutbacks just keep coming.
The state needs all school systems to give back millions in funding --that's an additional $5.5 million and possibly more because fewer students enrolled than projected.
"This will not be easy, because we are a lean organization, but again we will make decisions based on students in mind and try to minimize the impact on students," WCPSS Superintendent Del Burns said.
School leaders grappled with the potential fallout, fearing deep cuts could impact much needed programs and jobs.
What an $11 million dollar reduction could mean for the school system is unclear. Administrators will work on the changes in the weeks ahead.
"Ninety five percent of our employees are school based, 88 percent of all of our funds go to the schools and 82 percent are in salary and benefits so as we look at this we'll have to be very cautious and very careful," Burns said.
The superintendent says with deep cuts he anticipates some impact on the students.
More on the impact will be determined Dec. 1 when he meets with the Wake County Board of Commissioners.