The class-size waivers are now in the hands of the state Board of Education.
As noted in today's article, the school board voted Tuesday to request waivers for 329 K-3 classes at 66 elementary schools. School administrators are blaming the need for the waivers on the state budget problems.
"We’re not at a position we want to be in," Supt. Del Burns told board members. "We wish classes weren’t at this size. We’re still dealing with the impact of the economy.”
Because of the what turned out to be a $3.2 billion revenue shortfall, Burns told principals to only fill 95 percent of positions this year. That's why 1,496 employees weren't automatically rehired when their contracts expired June 30.
Administrators didn't have the updated totals Tuesday on how many of the terminating-contract employees were rehired. It had been over 900 before the school year started.
The state Board gave the state Department of Public Instruction the authority last year to handle requests for waivers.
Chief Area Supt. Danny Barnes told school board members on Tuesday that the district didn't receive a response last school year on any of the requests for waivers.
Philip Price, chief finance officer at DPI, said Tuesday all of Wake's requests were approved last year. He said that DPI leadership had hoped to meet with the leadership of the school system about handling new requests. He said the meeting hadn't been scheduled yet.
DPI could give Wake more money to hire teachers to lower class size. That's not likely based on the state of the economy.
DPi could approve the waivers.
DPI could reject the waivers, forcing Wake to spend more of its money. One thing that might impact the issue is how Gov. Perdue and state board chairman Bill Harrison have questioned whether Wake should have used more of the stimulus money to retain teachers to keep class sizes down.