WCPSS Covid Spending Should Raise lots of Questions | Eastern North Carolina Now | The pandemic has impacted Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) in a variety of ways. Achievement gaps have hardened and learning loss has caused many at-risk groups to fall even farther behind.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the John Locke Foundation. The author of this post is Dr. Robert Luebke.

    The pandemic has impacted Wake County Public Schools (WCPSS) in a variety of ways. Achievement gaps have hardened and learning loss has caused many at-risk groups to fall even farther behind.

    In 2021-22 Wake County Public Schools had 36 schools that were classified as Low Performing Schools. A low performing school has a school performance grade of "D" or "F" and a growth status of "Met" or "Unmet."

    Over the past year and a half, WCPSS saw an enrollment dip of over 3,000 students at a time when 64 people continue to flock into Wake County every day

    The good news, WCPSS has received nearly $442 million in federal covid relief funds to address learning loss and help populations most impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

    Let's see how WCPSS is spending covid dollars

    As of August 31st. WCPSS has spent $252.8 million in covid relief dollars. Currently $189.3 million or 43 percent of all covid funds WCPSS has received are unspent.

    WCPSS covid expenditures fall into the following categories

    Salaries- $170.7 million - 68 percent of all Funds

    Notable Expenditures

    Extended Contracts - $18.0 million

    Bonus Pay - $95.5 million

    Instructional Support - $8.4 million

    Benefits - $28.0 million - 11 percent of all Funds

    Notable Expenditures

    Employer Social Security =$12.6 million

    Employer Retirement Cost - $8.4 million

    Purchased Services - $17.9 million = 7 percent of all Funds

    Notable Expenditures

    Building & Land Repairs - $9.2 million

    Contracted Services- $6.0 million

    Supplies and Materials - $28.0 million - 11 percent of all Funds

    Notable Expenditures

    Supplies and Materials - $13.7 million

    Computer Equipment - $10.9 million

    Capital Outlay - $88,960 - .04 percent of all Funds

    Notable Expenditures

    Purchase of Furniture and Equipment - $88,690

    Other - $7.9 million - 3 Percent of all funds

    Notable Expenditures

    Indirect Costs - $5.5 million

    Transfers to Enterprise Fund - $2.4 million

    Is covid money getting to needy students?

    Almost 80 percent of covid funds for WCPSS is spent on salaries and benefits. That's a percentage higher than any other county in the state. Despite a consensus in the research that tutoring is the best way to remedy learning loss, WCPSS has spent only a little over $347,000 or about .14 percent of covid funds - on tutorial pay. The school system spent about the same amount of money ($356,000) on Psychological Contract Services as they did on tutorial pay.

    Of course expenditure data doesn't tell the whole story. But it does reveal WCPSS priorities. With Forty-three percent of covid funds still unspent and test scores telling us of the crying need for remediation, it's clear money is not getting to the neediest students. Isn't it time to start asking some questions?
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