Wake County school leaders are preparing the community for the prospect of putting on hold or scaling back this school year millions of dollars in promised new academic programs.
The 2014-15 budget adopted by the school board earlier this year includes new programs such as more funding for academically struggling schools, additional literacy coaches, extra counselors at high schools with low graduation rates and expanded pre-kindergarten services. But the initiatives have been put on hold as school leaders analyze the impact of the new state budget.
School officials have been determining how they’ll make up for a $12.6 million shortfall caused by state funding cuts and by the district matching its share of the state’s pay raise for teachers.
Wake Schools Superintendent Jim Merrill will present a revised budget in October. But he said at a school board committee meeting Thursday that it would be difficult to start new programs so late in the school year.
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“You just can’t produce people in the middle of an academic year,” he said.
School board Chairwoman Christine Kushner said that the district lost the flexibility to start the new programs when the Wake County Board of Commissioners only gave the district $10.2 million of the $39.3 million funding increase that was requested this year.
“All of this works together and somehow we need to convey that both to our partners on the county commission and the community,” she said. “We laid out exactly our needs and we need support for funding those needs.”