Landscape changer. That’s what Wake County Public Schools Chief Business Officer, David Neter called Governor Pat McCrory’s state budget and the school system’s potential loss of $12 million in funding for about 400 teaching assistants.
Governor McCrory’s budget includes funding to add about 1,800 teachers across the state over the next two years, but also calls for the reduction of teaching assistants in second and third grade.
Landscape changer? In 2012-13 WCPSS had an operating budget of $1,248,433,003. Simple math tells us $12 million is less than 1 percent of the school system’s total budget. We also need to remember that WCPSS also has a “rainy day” fund to handle — well, rainy days. Earlier this year Neter said the fund had a balance of about $32 million. Since 2007 WCPSS has been allowed to keep as much as 6 percent of the money it receives from the Wake County. It is supposed to return any excess money from the county. However that hasn’t always happened. In the past few years, WCPSS has taken money from the fund to balance budgets and avoid layoffs.
It looks like Gov. McCrory is choosing to add more teachers over teaching assistants. While most teachers like to have an assistant in the classroom, the fact is, the research fails to provide conclusive proof that teaching assistants are critical to improving student achievement.
Regarding layoffs, in 2012-13 Wake County Public Schools, had 17,726 full-time employees, 397 more than the previous year. Just thought you’d want to know.