School board to cut $11 million

WAKE COUNTY Wake County Commissioners had threatened to cut most departments like the sheriff and EMS by 4 percent, if Wake schools did not also trim mid-year spending.

"We are in an economic crisis. This crisis is going to continue for a long time," commissioner Joe Bryan said. "Everybody needs to be part of the solution."

Tuesday the Wake School Board agreed to cut $11 million in state and county money.

The cuts include almost $2 million from administration, $3 million by delaying vehicle and equipment purchases and another $3.2 million will be returned with less student growth than originally expected.

"We're tightening our belts, we're looking at overhead, we're doing everything we can to maintain our essential function, which is learning for all students," Wake County Superintendent Del Burns said.

Wake schools are not laying off any of its 18,000 employees and the only direct cut to classrooms at this point is a $1 million hit to school supplies.

"We are doing everything we can to minimize impact to classrooms," Burns said.

The total cuts amount to less than 1 percent of Wake schools overall $1.3 billion budget.

"We can scrub our budget as much as we possibly can as long as it does not impact programs and we think we are at that point now," School Board Chair Rosa Gill said. "I don't know we can cut anymore."

Still untouched is Wake schools $15 million reserve fund which county commissioners have criticized and school officials defend.

"Additional costs are coming our way," Burns said. "We have now stripped our budget of everything we can --our fund balance, that reserve fund is very critical to us."

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