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Education: Bill Fletcher’s July Newsletter

Wake County, NC – Thoughts for July 2016 from Bill Fletcher, Member of the Wake County Board of Education.

Is Graduating 95% of our Students Each Year Possible? That is our Vision 2020 Goal!

Yes it is! This year Wake graduated 10,322 students – the highest number ever. Several schools already exceeded the 95% rate last year and we expect that to be the case again when the figures are released for 2015-2016. Which high schools do you think will reach that high mark this year?

Budget Challenges from the State.

For the first time in a long time, the NC General Assembly has adopted a state budget at the beginning of the fiscal year. The press release claims an average 4.7% salary increase for teachers, an increase that is well deserved. But there are more provisions of the budget yet to be understood. Did they really freeze salary increases after 15 years of service? Really?

One legislator claims to have passed a budget with average annual teacher pay above $50,000. Really? The only way average teacher salaries surpass $50,000 is because counties raise property taxes to provide local salary supplements. Rather than properly funding the teacher salaries from state taxes, legislators continue to rely on counties to make up for their shortcomings. Thanks for increasing teacher pay, but don’t take credit for something you didn’t do!

County Commission Adopts Budget well short of Schools’ Needs.

The adopted Wake county budget is $11M short of the School Board’s request. Given the largess of the NCGA, there will likely be a much larger gap between funding and state-mandated expenditures. School System staff is digging into the budget line by line and will present a full picture of impact in mid-July.

November School Board Election put in Limbo by Fourth Circuit Decision.

A little history: Following the 2010 census, the (Republican majority) school board redrew election districts. The new districts created no controversy. In the regularly scheduled staggered term non- partisan elections in 2011 and 2013, Republicans lost. So in 2013 two Wake legislators redrew the election districts and changed the term length and election dates for members of the Wake School Board. The changes were to have been implemented in November 2016 with all nine seats being elected during the presidential election cycle. On Friday, July 1, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned the school board districts as unconstitutional. No one is quite sure what happens next as the Court sent the case back to the federal trial judge for resolution.

Politics Bottles up Infrastructure Bill after Unanimous House Vote.

Rep Paul Stam helped draft SB 778, a bill that clarifies who pays for certain off-site improvements of school construction projects. Towns were adding stipulations to site plans requiring developers to improve roads or intersections far beyond the impact of the school. NC DOT was refusing to pick up their share of necessary improvements and expecting the schools to improve state roads beyond reason. After a favorable vote in the Senate and unanimous concurrence in the House, the bill was sent back to the Senate Transportation committee where it died.

Factoid #24: About three dozen Wake schools open July 11 serving more than 28,000 students.

Parent chats except on holidays –

1st Thursday – 1 PM
Cary Chamber, 315 N Academy St., Cary

3rd Monday – 11 AM
Caribou Coffee shop, 109 SW Maynard Rd., Cary

Bill Fletcher school info: BFletcher@wcpss.net Voice Mail: 919-694-8843 Mobile: 919-880-5301

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Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Photos of Kingswood Elementary by Hal Goodtree.