Wake County taxes on the rise; school funding lower than asked

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The Wake County Commissioners voted Monday on the budget (WTVD)

A lot of parents and advocates for K-12 education are disappointed Monday with the Wake County Commissioners' vote to give the school system millions less than requested.

School district officials had lobbied for a $35.7 million increase from last year. They only got $23.9 million more. Commissioners point out that the district got 97 percent of what it asked for but that still leaves a nearly 12 million dollar gap.

School officials have floated the idea of raising fees on sports and extra-curricular activities to help make up the difference and that worries some parents.

Longtime Commissioner Betty Lou Ward suggested adding $5 million more to the school budget, but only one other commissioner voted with Ward.

All of the commissioners, including Ward, said they supported it in the end because it took a more complete look at child development, putting money into housing and hunger issues that can make it significantly harder for children to learn.

"This budget, and the reason I'm content voting for it, we're taking a whole child approach," said Commissioner Jessica Holmes. "And the reason I say that is we're supporting kids at early childhood development at that level."

But some parents at the meeting, including Ann Campbell, came out fuming. "By funding that much less than the school system requested, they are effectively requiring cuts in programs and services."

Diana Bader, from Cary, made a similar appeal. "Vote to fully fund the board of education's budget. It could have a tremendous effect on our economy and make our schools competitive education and successful."

Commissioners disagreed. The vote for the budget was unanimous.

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