School costs rise, but Wake must meet the need

It’s true that Wake County commissioners were generous in last year’s budget, and now the school system staff tells its board that there could be a $16.8 million budget shortfall in the fiscal year that starts in July. That the state House budget would require the system to come up with $5 million more in local money is a serious blow as well.

Yes, make no mistake: Those Republicans in the General Assembly who’ve been telling people how fortunate they are to have their taxes cut (only a few hundred bucks, if that, for average folks) leave out a little key information. Vouchers and tax cuts and the state’s tight-fisted attitude toward funding certainly are responsible in part for the Wake County schools’ need for additional money from county commissioners.

All local governments, instead of getting adequate assistance from the state, now have to look to local tax increases or to those sneaky sales tax increases lawmakers put in the budget.

School board members want a property tax hike, and the school system’s needs have to be met. The commissioners have little choice but to act. There are no options except keeping the schools open and doing what needs to be done.

But it’s fair for commissioners to encourage school board members to be mindful of potential savings and to mount a strong case for the school system’s efficiency.