Wake County commissioners are giving the school board what it asked for this year but have questions about funding for Project Enlightenment and foreign language instruction.
As reported online by Thomas Goldsmith, the commissioners voted 6-1 this afternoon to approve a $951 million budget. It also give the school board its request of about $313 million, the same it got last year.
Commissioner Lindy Brown asked for a friendly amendment to "hold out" $1.5 million to reinstate foreign language instruction in 16 high schools and four positions in the Project Enlightenment program. The request, which turned out be somewhat erroneous, was rejected.
Chairman Tony Gurley ruled that the request was inappropriate because it would require the system to find the funding for it. And it turned out that the premise of Brown's suggestion was not correct -- every Wake high school has foreign-language instruction, according to school board chair Ron Margiotta, who had been watching the meeting on television.
What Brown meant to ask about was foreign language instruction in middle schools, which has been dropped at some schools.
Michael Evans, a Wake schools' spokesman, said some middle school principals had decided to drop some electives like foreign language because of lack of funding.
With funding cut, particularly at the state level, Evans said that schools have had to focus on offering the required courses. He said that some middle schools which didn't have enough students requesting foreign language decided to use the funding for other classes.
Brown and the other Democratic commissioners asked for foreign language and Project Enlightenment to be brought up at a joint meeting of the commissioners and school board. Gurley said that would only happen if both boards agree to put it on the agenda.