Wake county school officials appear unable to work with an increased budget of over $1.4 billion dollars according to an email to staff obtained by this site penned by the Superintendent of Wake County Schools and David Neter, Chief Operating Officer.
The emails detail the cuts to school level services to ‘close the $17.5 million dollar budget gap’ while simultaneously indicating a 3% pay raise and a half percent bonus for non-teaching support staff.
Cuts include, “Adjustments to teacher funding allotments for elementary and middle schools”, which translated could mean cuts to in-class teachers funding.
Also on the list are items that will impact students and teachers alike, such as changing thermostats in schools to cut costs, cutting the busing budget back again and cutting down on the number of days janitors clean the school.
Read the email:
Superintendent Merrill is currently one of the highest paid Superintendents in the state with his original aggregate salary standing at $275,000. His contract states he can earn up to 5% ($13,750 a year) of his aggregate salary in performance bonuses. In addition, Merrill receives $900 which is “in lieu of a transportation allowance”.
Merrill’s contract was recently extended through 2019 by the Wake school board for ‘meeting his board approved goals’. This site reached out for the list of ‘goals’ but was denied access to the documents by Wake County Schools. The reason cited was that the documents were part of Merrill’s personnel file.
This site argued that the goal list was directly tied to Merrill’s taxpayer funded salary and therefore was a public record. Wake County Schools officials responded by refusing to turn over the goals list a second time.
The current Wake School Board also put a clause into his contract which has the effect of barring the next elected board from terminating him by attaching a two-year severance parachute of $560,000.
View Merrill’s Contract.
The Wake Board also approved a $1.98 billion building program in the last few months. The new building plan will span 7 years, multiple items such as 14 schools and 11 new miscellaneous projects. All of this expansion is allegedly to ‘accommodate the student growth rate’ which the WCPSS board has inaccurately estimated in the past. The real growth in Wake county appears to be coming from homeschooling and charter schools.