A final budget was presented to, and adopted by, the Board of Education for the 2014-2015 school year.
As discussed in a prior edition of In Context, the district faced an overall reduction in state funding of $1.5 million. With legislative teacher raises other benefit cost increases, they also faced an additional $11.1 million in expenses. Finally, there was an originally projected budget gap of $10.2 million for some compensation changes, growth for a projected 4,000 students, and an expansion of programs that included additional language immersion programs, and expansion of Pre-K services, literacy initiatives, differentiated resources for elementary schools, and start-up funding for the Knightdale Education Working Group. Yes – that’s a startling $22.8 million hole to fill.
The district received $10.2 million in additional local appropriation from the Wake County Commissioners. And it made $7.4 million in cuts to non-school/non-core business budgets. These included cuts to furniture, technology services contracts and software, and auxiliary budgets. These were made based on prior-year spending as documented by past utility bills, for example, and savings the district has realized by buying diesel fuel in bulk when prices are low.
Additionally, the district made decisions to cut an effort to expand half-time technology facilitators to every school ($610,000), cut further growth of the transportation department ($3.5 million), and cut refinishing hardwood floors ($198,000). Finally, the remainder of the gap was filled by using funds from the district’s fund balance.
Further details can be found in Chief Finance Officer David Neter’s presentation to the board during their work session on Oct. 7th.