Wake County, NC – Thoughts for May 2019 from Bill Fletcher, Member of the Wake County Board of Education.
Budget Dance Begins!
As we reviewed last month, your school board does not have taxing authority and must rely on state and county funding for the operating budget. The Superintendent’s budget request will be followed by the County Manager’s proposed budget. Meanwhile the Governor proposed his budget and the House released theirs.
We are all waiting for the Senate budget which is expected to ignore some real challenges in our schools, e.g. not enough counselors and social workers to meet the needs of students. Amid this confusion, the school board must adopt their budget request of the County by May 15.
North Carolina School Funding is Unique
The NC Constitution expects the legislature to fund all school operations and the county to fund facilities.
School boards do not have taxing authority and thus are dependent on state and county funding decisions to run an effective and challenging academic program.
How Much is Enough?
That’s a great question. At this time, the state purposefully transfers what should be state educational expenses to the schools. As a result, the School Board’s request to the County will be significant; funding it will be necessary.
By fully funding the request, the County Commission will demonstrate that it understands the additional impact that changes at the legislature are having on our schools and community.
Maintenance & Operation Budgets
These have been stuck in the past for several years as funds were shifted to keep sufficient staff in classrooms and student support roles. I expect the school board will include a significant increase for M&O expenses in its budget request to the County.
Life Cycle Funds
For the past decade, they have only been sufficient to triage and/or replace major building systems that affect the classroom, i.e. the academic environment. While many other building conditions have been identified as needing attention, e.g. painting, replacing ceiling tiles or toilets, there was insufficient funding to meet the needs in our 25 million square feet of building space. In the recently updated and approved Capital Improvement Plan (which has a separate budget), a new funding category has been established to help deal with the backlog of smaller building maintenance issues for which there was previously no funding.
System Establishes Safety Review Committee
This committee is to assure communication and collaboration between site-based administrators, facility planners and security personnel. The committee will review and make recommendations for necessary improvements to landscaping, site access, building access systems, surveillance systems, alarm systems, fire systems, exterior lighting, etc. Their work will be informed by the Crime Prevention through Environmental Design guidelines.
CTE (Career Technical Education) Classes are bursting at the seams.
More and more families are seeing the value in encouraging and support their students to add CTE classes to their academic loads. Classes in drafting, carpentry, culinary, auto mechanics, ag/bio-tech and many others are adding value to students’ high school careers and preparation. Students who complete three basic and one advanced CTE course have a graduation rate above 99%.
Parent chats (except on holidays)
1st Thursday – 1 PM
Cary Chamber, 307 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
Story by Bill Fletcher, Member Wake County Board of Education. Chart courtesy of Bill Fletcher. Photos by Lead Beyond.