RALEIGH: Wake Schools told to dip into reserves to pay teachers - WSPA.com

Wake Co. school board told to dip into reserves to fund pay raises

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Christine Kushner, the chair of the Wake County school board, said the Wake County Public School System has $88 million in its reserve fund. Christine Kushner, the chair of the Wake County school board, said the Wake County Public School System has $88 million in its reserve fund.
RALEIGH, N.C. -

The state Senate's $21.2 billion budget proposal contains the largest pay increase for teachers in the state's history, but Wake County Schools says it will require cutting nearly 700 teacher's assistant positions within the county and a reduction in bus services and driver's education courses.

Wake Schools further points out that the raises built in to the Senate budget are for teachers paid with state money, and the school system would pay out an additional $13 million to provide raises to any teachers paid with local funding.

Wake Schools cautioned that providing local raises could mean additional personnel cuts.

Lawmakers, however, say it doesn't have to be that way suggested the Wake County school board tap into its reserve funds to avoid cuts and pay for raises on the local level.

"It's a small thing to ask the Wake County school board to dip into their huge reserve so teachers can receive the biggest pay raise in state history," Sen. Phil Berger's office told WNCN Monday,

Christine Kushner, the chair of the Wake County school board, said the Wake County Public School System has $88.2 million in its reserve fund all together, but the majority is designated for specific spending and thus off-limits.

  • Click Here for a breakdown of WCPSS's fund balance

Of the nearly $90 million, $52 million of the fund is always set aside for specific funding such as prepayment of diesel fuel for buses, and money set aside for employees' medical and retirement accounts.

After taking out those funds, that leaves $36 million in the reserve, but $30 million of that has already been budgeted.

"I think funding salaries, funding personnel, needs to come from recurring moneys and that is my concern," Kushner said. "Instead of a one-time gimmick of using a fund balance, we need to make sure we have recurring funding for our personnel and salary increases in those positions."

The Wake County Board of Education has a meeting scheduled at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Wake County Public School System's offices located at 5625 Dillard Drive in Cary.

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