Wake County Schools want $11 million the county says it doesn’t have

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) –  Wake County Schools are asking for about an extra $35 million from the county in its budget. The county says they can only provide about two-thirds of that amount.

Monday night, the Wake County Board of Commissioners heard from dozens of people in regards to funding Wake County Schools.

The school district is receiving the largest portion of the county’s approximately $1.2 billion budget.

Last year, the county supplied the school district the largest single funding increase in history: more than $44 million added to their already existing budget.

This year, they are prepared to give even more. In total, Wake County Schools would receive about $70 million more this year than they did two years ago, but teachers and school officials say that is not enough.

“We can’t stop. We lost so much during the recession,” said Larry Nilles.

Nilles is the Wake County President of North Carolina Association of Educators and a high school teacher. He says if the schools don’t get the money it means cuts.

Wake county school officials are looking for an extra $11 million this year. Nilles says that might mean the commissioners need to raise taxes.

“People like to live here because the taxes are low. When low taxes comes at the expense of really decent public services that’s when things go badly. And I think right now we’re well past the point where things have gone badly,” said Nilles.

However, a tax increase is already a part of the 2017 budget. Wake County Board of Commissioners Chair, James West, says the commissioners have to worry about the entire county with the budget, not just the school district’s needs.

“Sometimes it’s very difficult when you can consider the burden on certain tax payers we have to try and keep it in balance,” said West.

West says nothing is set in stone yet, but county officials say the only way the district could get the funding requested is through a tax increase, or cuts elsewhere in the budget.

West says the board will meet again on June 13th and hopes to have the budget finalized by June 20th.

 

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