#WCPSS Proposed Budget: $1.4 Billion… Yes, Billion with a B.

In case you missed it:

Superintendent Merrill – ‘we’re playing catch up’. Wait, what?

Wake County School district is the largest in North Carolina and last I checked, the 16th largest nationwide.  Wake’s Superintendent has proposed a $1.4 billion dollar budget, which is a 14% increase.

There will be a public hearing on this budget – punchline below, keep reading.

News and Observer Ed blog has the goods:

The public will have its first chance this week to comment officially on a Wake County school budget proposal that includes a request for $48.3 million more in local funding.

Superintendent Jim Merrill has proposed a $1.4 billion operating budget for the 2015-16 fiscal year. But much of the reaction has focused on how Merrill wants the Wake County Board of Commissioners to provide $389.8 million – a 14 percent increase in funding.

School administrators say the bulk of the $48.3 million increase would go toward keeping up with enrollment growth, providing staff pay raises and starting some new academic programs. The request sets up a political scenario in which the all-Democratic board of commissioners will have to give a thumbs up or down to a budget request from the nearly all-Democratic school board.

Keep reading there’s a Q & A Section. The first question includes the details on a public hearing on this budget to be held this evening apparently:

Q. What has to happen for the school and county budgets to be adopted by June 30?

A. On Tuesday, the school board will review the budget proposal during an afternoon work session. The public hearing on the budget will be held during the regular meeting that begins at 5:30 p.m. in the main board room, 5625 Dillard Drive in Cary. The board is expected to adopt a budget May 5

What great advanced notice of this public hearing.

Anyone who attends tonight should ask for the line by line accounting of last year’s budget be made public and be posted online for all Wake residents to see.

The Wake County Schools website has a post up about this proposed budget. The largest listed expenditures are $16 million in teacher compensation increases and then $5.3 million for new school construction. Other large expenditures on the list include:

  • $3.7 million  – “Elementary Support Model”
  • $2.3 million – Pre-K expansion
  • $1.8 million – Extra-duty Pay Increase

At the very bottom of the post is this nugget calling for increased per pupil spending, which when translated means raising your taxes:

Merrill’s proposed budget continues two long-range goals set last year. Specifically, it calls for the district to have the state’s highest local investment in students, which would require a per pupil increase of about $400. It also calls for an increase in teacher pay that would bring Wake County to the national average over a five-year period. That effort would require about $80 million.

Wake’s current per pupil spending is approximately $7,714.  This $400 increase pushes per pupil spending in Wake to over $8k.

Dear WCPSS board — Best districts do not necessarily spend the most.  I would encourage you all to buy the book, The K-12 Implosion. Here’s a peek.

Related reading:

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips: APDillon@Protonmail.com
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