$45 million not enough? Wake County school board says tough decisions coming despite record amount from county commissioners

Josh Chapin Image
Tuesday, June 5, 2018
EMBED <>More Videos

Wake school board says $45M not enough.

WAKE COUNTY, NC (WTVD) -- The Wake County school system is getting a record amount of money in the new budget passed but it says it's not enough.

While school board members say the $45 million is historic, but they feel it's not enough to keep up with rapid growth.

"Due to funding restrictions and legislative mandates, we're not moving forward like we should be," said Amanda Mahaffey, school board member who represents District 8, at Tuesday's Board of Education meeting.

Wake County had asked for $48 million to "maintain their level of service to the community." The school system said it needed $11 million on top of that for "improvements."

County commissioners originally proposed $30 million but ended up with $45 million Monday, which is still a record that will bring the school system's operating budget in Wake County to more than $470 million next year.

"Our commissioners worked hard to take the original amount suggested, which was around $30 million and they recognized the needs of the district," said Kathy Hartenstine, who represents District 7. "We can't continue to provide the same level of service with only $45 million. It's going to take more than that so we will figure out how to have the least impact on children. It's the same thing as in any family. You have 'X' amount of dollars and we have to figure out how to make it work and in order to do that, there's going to be cuts."

Wake County school board members cannot say where those cuts will come from.

"The impact will be direct to our workforce and it will also to be direct to our families and our students," said Monika Johnson-Hostler, school board chair.

The county is adding four more schools next year so the school board insists they need to account for that in addition to the uptick in the number of special education students coming into the district.

County commissioners said this is no different from a government agency having to reevaluate its budget on a yearly basis.