Budget battle begins for Wake County Schools


"Pleased we aren't facing any major cuts," Wake School Board Chairman Keith Sutton said when asked what his first impression was of next year's budget.

The budget for the 2013-14 school year is $1.38 billion. The superintendent's proposal keeps all of the school system's employees in place, reducing class size and expanding the magnet program. It also adds technology facilitators to primary schools, assuming the state's funding formulas stay the same.

"There's some other variables out there that we don't know just yet -- sequestration dollars," Wake County School Board member John Tedesco said.

What makes the proposal possible is the district's rainy day fund of about $29 million. The school board is also asking the County Commission to chip in an extra $8.3 million.

"I don't think we should be asking the commissioners for more money at a time we're sitting on $35 million.  I think we should use that money, put it in our classrooms, give it to our teachers, give it to our kids, and use it wisely," Tedesco said.

The proposal comes as commissioners and the school board spar over several issues. The most recent controversy has been the county's push for state leaders to give them control over school buildings.

Sutton said he hopes none of that hinders the budget for the upcoming school year.

"I'm hopeful that we can work through our differences and not let those things get in the way or stand in the way of us providing what's needed for students of Wake County," Sutton said.

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