Wake Ed

Wake County school board may take position on NC budget

The Wake County school board’s government relations committee could recommend Monday taking a position on the state budget amid concerns about the impact of the Senate’s spending plan on education.

The committee will consider a board statement on the budget after an agenda that includes a legislative update on what’s been happening in the General Assembly and a discussion of the implications of the state budget. School board members are leery of the state Senate’s cuts to teacher assistants and driver’s education and are skeptical of finding the classroom space to utilize the proposed K-3 class-size reductions.

Last week, the full board got an initial review of what’s in both the House and Senate budget plans. School board members were much happier that the House budget doesn’t cut teacher assistants, restores funding for driver’s education and provides pay raises for all school employees.

School board members also like how the House plan:

▪ Provides more money than the Senate for textbooks;

▪ Funds a bill allowing retired school employees to come back to work without losing their coverage under the state health plan;

▪ Provides new state funding for the Vernon Malone College and Career Academy.

The House and Senate will now work to reconcile the different budgets approved by each chamber. A final state budget isn’t expected before the new fiscal year starts July 1.

As North Carolina’s largest school system, Wake school board members have said they feel their voice should be heard by state leaders. The state provides around 60 percent of Wake’s annual $1.4 billion school operating budget.