Wake schools struggle to save

RALEIGH It's trying to skimp and save so hundreds of employees won't lose their jobs. More students are expected in the district next year, but dollars won't follow.

State budget cuts are forcing a continued hiring freeze and hundreds of contracts are expected to go un-renewed at schools.

"Since we can't print money, then we've got to be able to make it work," Superintendent Del Burns explained.

Thursday, the school board combed through what's left of the budget looking for more ways to save. With a $4 million utility bill expected, some money saving ideas include lowering classroom temperatures by one degree, leaving personal coffee makers, space heaters, etc at home, and turning off computers more frequently.

Students with long term suspensions would work from computers at home instead of coming to an alternative school.

Some are hoping federal stimulus money will boost the budget, but the board's chief business officer says it might allow them to cut back a little less.

"We won't be able to adjust our budget or consider things because we just don't know what those details are and what the constraints are," said Chief Business Officer David Neter.

Some parents and teachers say they're scared all the cuts will lead to bigger class sizes - and only hurt the students in the end.

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