Bob Luebke argues that the Wake County school system should cut more Central Services positions before making further budget cuts in schools.
In a blog post today for the conservative Civitas Institute, Luebke is skeptical of the school administration's claims that schools now need to bear the brunt of the cut. Staff is proposing that schools bear 80 percent of the new state cut in education funding.
"Can anyone honestly say teaching staff should be cut before additional layoffs to Facilities Planning, Auxiliary Services or Growth and Planning?," Luebke writes. "If the purpose of Wake County Schools is to educate students, shouldn’t the budget reflect those priorities?"
Let's back up for a moment.
During Wednesday's school board finance committee meeting, Chief Business Officer David Neter said budget cuts over the years have focused heavily on Central Services to avoid cutting schools. He pointed to how the $20 million in cuts unveiled in February were all affecting Central Services, including layoffs of more than 70 employees.
Then came word that the state wanted a 3 percent cut in education funding for this fall, equal to $20 million.
Neter said that Central Services had been cut so much that it could "no longer bear it all alone." He said cutting $20 million out of Central Services would have been the equivalent of taking $80 million to $100 million out of schools.
Under the 3 percent reduction that Wake is hoping the state cut will be limited to, schools would take $16 million of the $20 million cut.
If state funding is cut 5 percent, schools would take $27.2 million of the $34 million cut. In that 5 percent scenario, Neter said teacher layoffs would likely have to be made.
This is where Luebke's skepticism steps in. He notes that Wake still has 694 Central Services employees that can be cut from before teachers. (Wake has got 17,500 full or part-time employees.)