Education advocates are gently urging the Wake County Board of Commissioners to increase school funding before it approves a final spending budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.
The Wake County Public School System has asked for an increase of $48.3 million in its funding, or about 14 percent more than this year’s schools budget. However, the county manager has recommended a smaller increase of about $34.6 million.
A parade of speakers on education came through a public hearing Monday afternoon. Tom Benton, vice chairman of the Board of Education, warned that the county’s proposal wouldn’t allow the school system to give the raises it has discussed, averaging 3 percent per employee.
“The only place we have to look is at the proposed salary increases,” Benton said.
Others said that this year’s budget would only be the first of several necessary increases for schools.
“We fully understand that moving from where we are ... to funding all newly identified initiatives in the Wake school system’s proposed budget may not be achieved in one step,” said the Rev. Marion Robinson of the WakeEd Partnership.
Erv Portman, a former Cary councilman and former county commissioner, said that funding the school board’s request would represent a “down-payment on what was promised in the last election.”