It looks like the Wake County school board's budget could go back to getting greater scrutiny from the board of commissioners.
As noted in an article today in the Raleigh Public Record, Tony Gurley, chairman of the board of commissioners, wants to bring back the "purpose and function" budgeting requirements for the school system. Gurley says that school board chairman Ron Margiotta agrees with the idea, which would be a major change from how prior boards viewed the requirement.
Under purpose and function, the school system budgeted the amount it received from the county into several broad categories. The school system had to get the approval of commissioners if it changed any of the categories by more than 15 percent.
Gurley had pushed for purpose and function in 2008. The Democrats had reluctantly agreed to the requirement in exchange for getting GOP Commissioner Joe Bryan to support an $18.5 million increase in school funding that year.
But almost from the start, the school system complained about the lack of flexibility in the budgeting requirements.
In a Dec. 4, 2008 letter to the commissioners, then-school board Chairwoman Rosa Gill asked the commissioners to remove the budgetary restriction, saying it was burdensome.
"Monitoring budget adjustments at purpose and function levels requires additional administrative staff time both at the central and school levels," Gill wrote.
After the 2008 elections in which Democrats gained the majority of the board of commissioners, the requirement was dropped January 2009 in a party-line vote.
"This is the commissioners saying to the school board, 'We don't trust you,' " said newly elected Commissioner Stan Norwalk at the time.
Now that the GOP is back in the majority on the commissioners, we'll see how quickly Gurley gets the change implemented.