Much of the TV news coverage from Tuesday’s Wake County school board meeting will likely be about the school budget, but not much budget action will take place until July.
The school board is scheduled to approve an interim resolution this evening to cover the start of the 2016-17 fiscal year until the state budget is adopted. But school board Chairman Tom Benton said it likely won’t be until next month before the board decides on what steps will be needed to close a budget shortfall of at least $11.8 million.
On Monday, the Wake County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $1.2 billion budget for the next fiscal year that provides $23.9 million of the $35.7 million increase in school funding requested by the school board. A proposal to provide $28.9 million in school funding was rejected at the board table.
On May 31, school staff laid out a list of higher fees and service cuts that might be needed to deal with the county shortfall and any shortfall caused by the state. Benton said those were serious options and not threats to try to motivate the commissioners to provide more money.
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“There will be some tough decisions we have to make in July when we found out what the state budget will be,” Benton said.
Benton said that the undesignated fund balance/school savings is down below $10 million so it can’t solve the shortfall this year.
Moving past this budget cycle, Benton said he’s talked with James West, chairman of the board of commissioners, about developing a long-term plan to provide money for the school operating budget. Benton said it could be like how the school board and commissioners now have a seven-year plan for school construction.
In terms of Tuesday’s meeting:
The work-session agenda includes:
▪ Review of items that staff and the board will work on during the first quarter of the 2016-17 fiscal year;
▪ Discussion of the proposed memorandum of understanding with Wake Tech to create a career and technical education high school in Wake Forest;
▪ Discussion of a proposed memorandum of understanding with the YMCA of the Greater Triangle to build a joint elementary school/YMCA facility in Southeast Raleigh;
▪ Discussion of how Wake is trying to implement the human capital objective of the strategic plan, including new teacher leadership opportunities.