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Asking the school board for $5.7 million

The county commissioners have put the funding hot potato in the school board's lap.

The commissioners voted this afternoon to request the school board, Wake Tech and non-profits to participate in a 1.8 percent funding cut. If these groups say no, the commissioners can later implement the cut anyway.

It's putting the school system in the position of deciding whether it will give back $5.7 million. The school board could offer to give less than $5.7 million or nothing to put the issue back with the commissioners.

Debating the $5.7 million school cut

There is going to be a tussle today over whether the school system should lose $5.7 million to help make up for a shortfall in county revenue.

This afternoon, county commissioners could vote on whether to implement an across-the-board funding cut of 1.8 percent to make up for a $17 million projected revenue shortfall. If the school system and Wake Tech are exempted from this cut, county departments would have to take a deeper 4 percent cut.

Supporters and opponents of sparing the school system from the 1.8 percent cut, equal to $5.7 million, plan to come out today to have their say before the vote.

Asking for more resources for Eastern Wake

Eastern Wake parents voiced their discontent with the reassignment proposal at Thursday's community engagement meeting.

As noted in today's article, several speakers argued that Eastern Wake schools need more resources. Knightdale High is the only Eastern Wake school whose F&R percentage is under 40 percent.

Assistant Superintendent Chuck Dulaney told speakers it was a question of resources. (Unlike the school board's hearings on reassignment, speakers at CEM meetings will get responses to questions.)

Still wanting the conversion money

School board members are not happy at the prospect of having to cut more than $11 million from its budget.

As noted in today's article, board members complained that having to make cuts so deep would hurt a "lean budget." Board members said that might even lead to considering things such as cuts to the classroom and layoffs.

With potentially as much as $5.7 million being cut by the county, the year-round conversion tiff resurfaced.

Staring at $11 million in cuts

The budget news is getting worse for the school system.

Supt. Del Burns said the school district will have to give back $5.5 million to the state as part of $58 million in cuts to the state's public school districts. This comes on top of an earlier request from County Manager David Cooke to return $5.7 million.

With the prospect of more than $11 million in possible cuts, school board members warned today that cuts to the classroom and even layoffs might have to be made now.

Reassignment assumptions

There are some big question marks that could upend the new multi-year reassignment plan.

As noted in today's article, school administrators are assuming that funding will still come through for the 10 new schools slated to open by 2012. They're also assuming that the district will win the year-round lawsuit.

If either or both don't go as hoped, the plan will need a major rewrite.

Looking at a $5.7 million cut

Will the school board have to cut $5.7 million due to the county's revenue shortfall?

As noted in today's article by Michael Biesecker, County Manager David Cooke suggested Monday that all county departments take a 1.8 percent funding cut. If implemented, it would mean the school system would have to cut $5.7 million to make up for a projected county revenue shortfall of at least $17 million.

If the school system is spared any cuts, other county departments — including such key operations as the sheriff’s office, EMS, and the 911 call center — will have to make deeper cuts of 4 percent.

Democratic board majorities

The economy could check any major effort to increase school spending even with Democrats now representing the majority on both the school board and board of commissioners.

As noted in today's article, commissioners and school board members seem pretty confident that relations will now improve between both boards. But a $17 million shortfall in projected revenue could limit what both boards agree upon.

"If there's no improvement in the economy, the funding needs aren't going to be met," said Rosa Gill, chairwoman of the school board, in the article.

Lecturing Broughton parents

School board member Beverley Clark had a message on Tuesday for all those Broughton High School parents who had been lobbying for the magnet program to be saved.

Clark said the Broughton parents, who had bombarded board members with e-mail messages and calls, need to show the same level of energy during the budget season. She said the parents need to urge the county commissioners to provide the school system with adequate funding.

Clark warned that next year's budget negotiations could be very difficult. Considering that County Manager David Cooke warned this week that the county is facing a potential $17 million budget shortfall due to the global crisis, it's not lookiing good for a big boost in school funding next year.

No advance notice on cuts

School board members aren't going to get the advance notice they'd hoped for about which construction projects face elimination today.

Board members had asked to get by Monday a list of new schools and renovations that administrators would recommend delaying today. But administrators said Monday that the list now won't be available until today's work session.

The work session begins at noon in the board conference room, 3600 Wake Forest Road in Raleigh.

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