Wake Ed

Setting the stage for funding Wake County schools

Today’s planning retreat for the Wake County Board of Commissioners will set the stage for what could be harmonious or contentious budget negotiations this year with the school board.

County staff will present a budget forecast showing an estimated increase of $23,5 million in available revenue for the upcoming fiscal year. The question will be how commissioners will use the money at a time when they have competing interests.

On one hand, the commissioners want to reduce the impact of the property tax increase from the school bond issue approved by voters in October. But they’ll also face requests for more money from the school system and county agencies.

Based on 1.71 percent property tax growth, county budget staff say that would produce a $5.6 million funding increase for the school system. But the indications are that it’s going to fall short of the increase that the school system will request from the county.

On Tuesday, Superintendent Jim Merrill will present his 2014-15 operating budget proposal to the school board. Earlier in the year, Chief Business Officer David Neter said administrators were reviewing $50 million in new spending requests to see which ones would be included in the budget.