CARY, N.C. (WNCN) – Leaders of the Wake County schools are trying to figure out their next steps after county commissioners declined to give them the full budget increase they requested.
“We don’t have direction today. We didn’t give our superintendent or our finance department any direction,” said school board chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler.
The school board met Tuesday, a day after county commissioners voted to give the school system a $21 million increase in funding for next year.
However, school administrators had pushed for a $45 million increase.
“We are not creating a budget out of thin air. They are based on the priorities that our students need,” said Johnson-Hostler.
In recent months several high-profile incidents involving race relations in the county’s schools have prompted administrators to take new steps in addressing broader issues of equity in the school system.
Next year’s budget included funding for an expansion of the Office of Equity Affairs as well as additional counselors and social workers. With the funding gap, it’s unclear if those changes still will occur, said Johnson-Hostler.
Board member Jim Martin called for a third-party mediator to work with the school system and the county on budgeting issues.
The board adopted an interim budget that will allow the school system to continue paying employees and expenses until the budget is finalized.
State lawmakers are aiming to send their budget to Gov. Roy Cooper by the end of the week.