Wake Ed

Wake County school board to review $1.5 billion budget proposal

Leesville Middle School students, from right, Paige Williams, Regan O'Brien, Marie Cox, Madaline Worth, Kenneth Pham, and Jackson Pope rehearse during an orchestra class on Nov. 9, 2015. The proposed 2016-17 Wake County school budget includes more funding to repair musical instruments in strings programs.
Leesville Middle School students, from right, Paige Williams, Regan O'Brien, Marie Cox, Madaline Worth, Kenneth Pham, and Jackson Pope rehearse during an orchestra class on Nov. 9, 2015. The proposed 2016-17 Wake County school budget includes more funding to repair musical instruments in strings programs. khui@newsobserver.com

The 2016-17 operating budget will be a major focus at Tuesday’s Wake County school board meeting.

The work session agenda includes the school board’s first chance to discuss Superintendent Jim Merrill’s proposal to ask the Wake County Board of Commissioners for a $35.7 million increase in local funding. The regular meeting agenda includes a 6 p.m. public hearing on the $1.5-billion budget proposal.

Merrill isn’t proposing this year a locally funded raise for school employees. He’s anticipating the state will provide 3-percent pay raises for teachers and other school employees.

Administrators say most of the $35.7 million increase is needed to keep up with growth, pay for the impact of state legislative decisions and continue programs begun last year.

About 10 percent of the local increase would go toward new and expanded programs, including redesigning the academic program of East Wake High School, starting the new flexible learning high school and increasing spending on the arts.

Other work-session topics include:

▪ A presentation on the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that replaces No Child Left Behind;

▪ Draft 2016-17 calendars for the Wake STEM Early College, Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy, Wake Young Women’s Leadership Academy, Wake Early College of Health and Science and Vernon Malone College and Career Academy;

▪ Draft 2017-18 calendars for traditional, year-round and modified-calendar schools;

▪ A proposal to realign all 176 schools this fall under a new structure with nine regional/area superintendents. The change is being considered because the new school board election maps generated by the General Assembly are sharply different than the current lines.

The board may realign its board advisory councils to match the nine new proposed leadership regions. As a result, the regular-session includes a vote to waive board policy on selecting new BAC members until the new BAC lines are finalized.

The regular session also includes adopting the 2016-17 school bell schedules, which would change times at six schools.

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