Tata unveils $1.25B school budget

March 6, 2012 8:14:51 PM PST
Wake County Schools Superintendent Tony Tata released his budget for the next school year Tuesday.

As part of that budget, Tata announced there would be no job cuts. He is proposing a pay increase of 1 percent for teachers as well as a $500 bonus for other staff, except those on his leadership team.

If approved, the school board will ask county commissioners for nearly $9 million to fill their funding gap. An additional $29 million would also have to be borrowed from a reserve fund.

"We have 18,000 employees and they haven't seen a raise in four years," said Tata. "I think it's time to begin to reinvest in our students and in our teachers."

However, the money could be hard to come by.

"This is probably not what you would see us do under normal circumstances," said School Board member Keith Sutton, "but these aren't normal times."

The proposal comes as federal and state aid for schools is shrinking and the school district is preparing for roughly 3,000 new students next year.

Meanwhile, some board members expressed concern over the new school choice plan where roughly 75 percent of student who requested a new school got their choice. Critics believe those numbers will drop as the years go by and lower income students will suffer.

"We need to keep working very hard on strengthening our magnets, adding more magnet programs and more magnet seats ," said Yvonne Brannon with the Great Schools in Wake coalition, "so that we still can attract our growth to our inner core of Raleigh."

The board did not take up the budget proposal Tuesday. It must be approved by the board and county commissioners by June 30.

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