Wake Ed

Proposed Wake County school pay raises may be reduced

School budgets and collaborative learning spaces are among the items the Wake County school board will discuss Tuesday.

During the work session, staff will give the board an update on the status of the 2015-16 operating budget. With County Manager Jim Hartmann recommending $13.7 million less than what the school board wants, school finance staff will warn that they might have to sharply cut back on proposed employee pay raises to fill the gap.

The budget presentation comes a day after school system supporters lobbied the Wake County Board of Commissioners to fully fund the school board’s request for a $48.3 million local funding increase.

Then there’s the uncertainty of how the state budget could impact the school board’s budget. The state House budget funds some of the things the school board wanted local funding for but there’s no guarantee it will make its way into the final state budget.

Also during the work session, the board will discuss and likely take a preliminary vote on the schematic design for the new Bryan Road Elementary School in Garner. At issue is whether to change the existing schematic design to spend up to $615,000 to add as much as 3,600 square feet in commons space for collaborative learning areas.

The school system is looking at how to add more collaborative learning spaces at its existing schools as well as to new schools.

During the regular meeting, the board will officially vote on the schematic design for Bryan Road Elementary. The board is also slated to vote on approving a change to the schematic design for the renovation of Brooks Elementary School in Raleigh that will add $272,000 to pay for building 1,450 square feet of commons space.

Also during the regular meeting, the board will vote on raising the student fee for taking driver’s education to $65 – a $10 increase. But the increase won’t be enough to offset the looming statewide elimination of funding for driver’s education. State lawmakers are considering whether to put the money back in the new budget.

The board will also give final approval to a policy regulating the use of classroom pets and other animals in the classroom.

Also now that we’re in June, you’ll likely see more examples of principals being transferred between schools, reassigned to jobs in central office or even being demoted to assistant principal. Those decisions would be announced at the end of the board meeting.