Wake County School Board views proposed budget for upcoming school year

Tuesday, April 11, 2023
Wake County School Board views proposed budget
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This will be Superintendent Catty Moore's last budget proposal before her retirement in July.

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Wake County School Board met Tuesday to talk about the budget for the next school year.

This is Superintendent Catty Moore's last budget proposal before her retirement.

In the last few years, there have been significant changes to the budget to accommodate the fallout from the pandemic.

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Moore has previously told Wake County Commissioners that she wants to increase the minimum wage for the district's hourly workers in the hopes of recruiting and retaining more employees.

Those hourly workers include bus drivers, safety personnel who ride on buses with students, and cafeteria workers. The district has been plagued by shortages of those employees, which has had a major impact on local parents.

"To have to rely on the bus transportation has been a real issue this year," said Tanya Jockish, who has two kids in the district. "Not only for me but for people in my neighborhood."

Jockish said she supports pay increases as a potential remedy for workplace shortages in the district. That sentiment was echoed by Brandy Smith, whose son attends Brooks Elementary.

"You've got to pay people what they're worth," Smith said. "Those bus drivers do deserve a bump in their pay because it is tough to get out there. They've got a lot of kids to take care of."

Herbert Akins Middle School Principal Anne Marie Akins hopes the budget allows more schools to upgrade to their collaborative learning style.

"I think all schools are working on that type of environment for their students and staff to work together and so yes absolutely bring those spaces it's nothing but opportunity for everyone," she said.

Another contentious issue on Tuesday's agenda was a proposed calendar change that would move the first day of classes up to August 7th starting in the 2024-45 school year. That's drawn the ire of some parents concerned about the potential impact on summer vacation.

But the board's Vice Chair, Chris Heagarty, is assuring parents that current state law would prevent a change like that from taking place anytime soon.

"Any change we do to the calendar has to take place at least two years in advance," said Heagarty. "Right now, the state has a law that restricts what our school calendar can be. looking ahead, we'd like to explore some options that if they change the law, we can start school later, or start school earlier, but until they change the law there's not much that we can do."

This budget is expected to be reviewed several times in May by the board; it will also have multiple public hearings before being approved by county commissioners in June.