2022-23 Board of Education's Proposed Budget
Budget Letter from Board Chair Lindsay Mahaffey
May 3, 2022
Dear Chairman Hutchinson and Wake County Commissioners,
On behalf of the Wake County Board of Education, I am presenting this proposed budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. This budget reflects the evolving challenges the Wake County Public School System faces amid the continued fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and persistent labor shortages.
Every student in our district deserves a qualified and supportive teacher in their classroom, access to nutritious food, and a network of caring staff members who support their overall well-being. They also deserve consistent and safe transportation to a well maintained school building.
The Wake County Board of Commissioners has demonstrated time and again the shared belief that a community thrives and benefits from investing in a strong public school system. We know the state legislature has a fiscal responsibility to provide a sound basic education. We also recognize that state mandates are forced onto local governments without the funding required to execute them. At this time, without local support, we cannot maintain the great public schools that are expected by our families and an economic driver to our region.
In 2019, our boards acknowledged critical needs that became a part of a multi-year funding plan which included:
- Non-Certified Staff Salary Increase
- Instructional Support Technicians
- Behavioral Health Support Positions
- Maintenance & Operations Formula Alignment
For the past two years, WCPSS has adjusted its budget request in order to accommodate any economic fallout from the pandemic. While every year contains economic uncertainties, Wake County is currently experiencing a thriving economy and full employment. Our students, their families and our employees can no longer wait.
To reaffirm our boards’ shared commitment to the above goals, the Wake County Board of Education is requesting a total of $600,221,441 in county appropriation for the 2022-2023 school year - an increase of $56,016,340 in the annual base budget.
This would increase the Wake County Public School System’s local expenditure from $3,115 per student to $3,394, including charter school pass-through funding.
Our students deserve a high-quality workforce to educate and support them during their K-12 experience. This is why the largest portion of WCPSS’ requested budget increase - $35.2 million - would be used to increase employee compensation.
We have seen serious shortages among our support staff such as bus drivers, cafeteria workers and instructional assistants. This budget increases the starting salary for all non-certified employees to $16 per hour, as well as a fair and equitable pay structure that addresses compression.
With the help of pandemic relief funds from the County Commission, WCPSS was able to provide Chromebooks to all of our students, and we are now a 1:1 device district. Our obligation now is to ensure the support of those student devices by funding Instructional Support Technicians.
We must continue to prioritize our progress with academic recovery for all students. First semester End-of-Course test results showed marked improvement this year, yet there are still many students who will continue to need support. This support will be needed both inside and outside of the classroom, including in the form of behavioral health services.
The Wake County Public School System used federal pandemic relief funds to hire additional counselors, psychologists, and social workers. This budget continues our joint multi-year plan to get the district to nationally recommended ratios for these positions that are vital to educating the whole child.
The Wake County Board of Commission has committed to funding our building program with the seven-year capital improvement plan. Separately, we have an obligation to maintain 197 schools - totaling more than 27 million square feet - so our students have safe spaces in which to learn.
Our joint multi-year funding plan acknowledges that WCPSS is currently funded below the industry standard for maintenance and utilities. It will require approximately $20 million in today’s dollars to reach those maintenance and utility standards. To address this, we are requesting approximately $5 million for each of the next four years. These crucial investments in maintenance and operations will extend the life cycles of our buildings and conserve essential capital improvement funds.
The Wake County Commission has long recognized the critical need for a strong public school system if our community is going to excel academically and economically. The investment in our students, and those who care for them, is what makes Wake County a desirable place for families like my own.
Your strong support reflects our shared commitment. Investing in public education allows every child to thrive and meet their full potential, ultimately becoming productive and contributing citizens with a sense of self-fulfillment.
Chair, WCPSS Board of Education
- The superintendent presents a 2022-2023 proposed budget to the Board of Education for its consideration on April 5. North Carolina school districts do not have taxing authority. Revenue in the proposed budget is estimated based on expected funding from state lawmakers, county commissioners and the federal government.
- Board of Education members hold a work session on April 19 to ask questions about the proposed budget and suggest changes.
- Following the board work session on April 19, a public hearing is held where the general public can offer its thoughts and suggestions about the superintendent's proposed budget.
June 2022Commissioners are expected to approve their budget June 6 to determine funding levels for all services, including the portion used to help pay for schools. Local funds cover about 29% of the school system's operating costs. An additional 4% of the school system's operating costs are covered by local funds generated in specific areas such as fines and forfeitures.June 2022The school board begins to debate changes to the school district's budget based upon the amount of local funding provided by the county. An interim budget is generally needed while waiting for a final decision from state lawmakers on the state's budget.July 2022 (or later if interim budget is used)State lawmakers approve a budget. State funds currently cover about 52% of the school system's operating costs. If state lawmakers do not approve a budget by June 30, which is typically the case, the school board uses its interim budget to begin the school year.
- Board members hold final public discussions on May 3, and approve their formal request to Wake County Commissioners. This becomes the Board of Education's proposed budget.
- The Wake County Manager presents his proposed budget to County Commissioners on May 2.
- County Commissioners hold budget work sessions on May 9 and May 23 to review the County Manager's proposal. Public hearings are scheduled for May 11, May 16 and May 18.