Editorials

More crowding means Wake schools need more funding

Students crowd a stairway as classes change at Heritage High School in Wake Forest NC on Sept. 10, 2015.
Students crowd a stairway as classes change at Heritage High School in Wake Forest NC on Sept. 10, 2015. cseward@newsobserver.com

Wake County’s population is increasing by 67 people a day, which is up from a couple of years back, when the rate was 63 people a day. Only Travis County in Texas has a higher rate.

That 67-a-day rate is why we’re inclined to think Wake commissioners need to look at County Manager Jim Hartmann’s budget – it increases school funding by about one-third of the amount the schools requested – and consider boosting the school money some more.

Hartmann said schools should make up for the gap between what he’s offering, an increase of $16 million, and what the schools want, an additional $45 million, with rainy-day money, which is in fact substantial. It might be as much as $21 million.

That said, the $39 a year a typical property owner would pay in additional taxes seems a modest hike, and this might be the year to get a little bit more in order for schools to keep up with astounding growth. Commissioners, since the Democratic takeover of the board, have been generous with schools, but the schools are still in need, considering weakened and unpredictable state support.

School officials should ready their case for commissioners, and make it. That’s a fair expectation for commissioners to have.

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