State budget cuts $5.5 million from Wake Co. Schools - WRBL

State budget cuts $5.5 million from Wake Co. Schools

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

While Wake County's school district is seeing a growth in student population, the state budget that now awaits Gov. Pat McCrory's signature cuts $5.5 million from Wake County Public School System's operating budget.

The cut comes as the amount of money the district spends on each child continues to decline.

In 2009, Wake County spent $8,209 in operating cost per student. That cost includes things like books, teacher pay, supplies, transportation, computers and technology, and furniture.

In 2010, that number dropped to $7,727 per student.

When compared to other districts of similar size nationwide, in 2010 Wake County spent the least on students.

"Whoever is in charge of dispersing the Wake County money needs to be fired," exclaimed one parent who preferred not to be named. "Our teachers are our future, our children are our future. If we do not invest in them, what future do we have?"

Since 2008, Wake County teachers have seen one pay increase of 1.2 percent.

"We haven't had a raise in a while," said Erin Sanchez, a Wake County employee and parent. "I've been with Wake County for almost eight years now, and I think we received one raise the whole time I've been here.

"It's not right, but I love the kids, and education is very important so that's the only reason I stay."

Sanchez said the loss of money means fewer course offerings because the school system is unable to hire teachers, or purchase textbooks and computers.

"I guess they're trying to save money, but this affects the kids," Sanchez said. "We're talking about textbooks, we're talking about money that's budgeted for teachers to buy things for the classrooms. So now they're going to have to buy the stuff out of their pockets and they're already not making much as it is."

Wake County Public Schools said once the state issues its allotments, the school system will begin to prioritize and avoid cuts as best as possible.

"Our ultimate goal is to continue to provide a quality education for our students," said Stella Shelton, Wake County Public Schools chief communications officer.

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