Wake School Board approves $1.3 billion budget


The plan would give teachers, and staff, a boost in pay if it is approved by Wake County commissioners.

The budget, which includes $29 million to bump up pay for 18,000 teachers and staff, is something board members say isn't a huge leap toward reinvesting in schools.

"This is not necessarily a pay raise," said Wake County School Board member Bill Fletcher. "This is filling the hole that has been dug."

Across the board, it's a 3.5-percent pay raise that fills that hole to get staff back to what they were in 2008.

"Our teachers and our staff members have seen their salaries be stagnant for quite a while, years, coming out of the recession," said Wake County School Board Chair Christine Kushner.

Board members say paying teachers what they were getting five, six years ago doesn't help when it comes to inflation.

"Even with those increases, they wouldn't be caught up," said Wake County Schools' Chief Business Officer David Neter.

It's too late for the more than 600 teachers who already walked off the job just this school year.

To help pay for the increase, the board is asking for $365 million from the county, which will decide yes or no by June.

But it doesn't stop there. Also built into the budget is a 2.5-percent increase. That decision goes to the state.

It's all very far from a done deal at this point, but it's all part of the district's long-term plan to pay teachers the national average of just more than $56,000 by the year 2020.

Right now, Wake county teachers earn an average about $45,500 a year.

The budget doesn't just raise teacher and staff pay but also helps fund other programs struggling in recent years.

Click here to read more about the budget.

Board members also talked about a change in bell schedules at five current schools. However, they pushed a vote on those changes until May 6 to give parents time to weigh in.

The current schools affected would be Durant Elementary, Durant Middle, Green Elementary, Kingswood Elementary, and West Lake Elementary.

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