Do you remember that $1.5 million that Wake officials found to ease the county commission's rejection of the school district's full budget request? It was part of a package that allocated $430 million to the schools, about $15 million shy of the school board's ask.
It turns out that the $1.5 million in sales taxes wasn't the only extra revenue county officials discovered. They also came across $3 million more than they expected in property taxes but didn't mention the sum as a source for school funding. Deputy county manager Johnna Rogers says the county knew early enough about the increase in property taxes that they were able to use the dough to wrap up the old budget year.
"What we do when we are building the next year's budget, we always use the most current numbers we have," Rogers says.
School board members say they were never told about the increased property-tax haul during the sometimes heated budget struggles.
"I don't remember hearing about that," says vice chairwoman Christine Kushner. "I know they did a great deal of due diligence on our budget. We stayed in our lane of working to explain our budget request to the commissioners."
Wake schools financial chief Mark Winters didn't know about the $3 million either. But it might not have made a great deal of difference, says Wake County Public Schools spokesman Tim Simmons.
"We knew as soon as the county manager proposed his budget that it was not going to be an amount anywhere near the school board request," Simmons says.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Couch Cushions"