Wake school officials: 'We don't have a plan' for funding shortage

Wake commissioners' budget falls about $24 million short of school system's request

Families, teachers wait to see where school budget cuts will fall

Wake County schools will receive more than $430 million in county funding for the 2017-2018 school year, which accounts for 52 percent of the overall county budget.

Dallas county seriously underestimated the amount of property tax revenue they'd be taking in this year, resulting in a 13 million dollar budget shortfall.

The school system's $24.2 million shortfall could rise depending on the state budget. "But, we are very clear that we are not sure how that is going to happen today", said Wake County school board Chairwoman Monika Johnson-Hostler. "I think everything is on the table", said Johnson-Hostler. "Our eyes are still on the prize, which is our kids, our students". The board adopted an interim budget resolution just to keep the district running when the new fiscal year starts on July 1. School board members defended their finance staff Tuesday, questioning how county officials had come up with their numbers. Both boards have Democratic majorities.

"I am deeply concerned about the social worker, counselor, mediator, justice work that we are trying to do", said school board member Jim Martin. "There can't be substantial progress until the relationship between the county commissioners and the Board of Education is founded in trust". Tim Lavallee with Wake Ed Partnership said the two sides have a decision to make as they evaluate the board's top priorities.

Monday's vote wrapped an unusually bitter divide on the Democrat-controlled board, which by and large blamed state lawmakers for the school district's funding crisis.

School leaders said last year's cuts were needed, but County Commissioner Erv Portman disagreed. "It wasn't as much of an increase as they had asked". In a 5-2 vote, county commissioners instead gave $21 million.

Commissioner Barry Jacobs suggested they talk in the future about how to narrow the funding gap that the district tax creates between the school systems.

The county is required to provide local money to the city and Orange County Schools districts based on their number of students.

State lawmakers are aiming to send their budget to Gov. Roy Cooper by the end of the week.

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