Wake County Schools

Cary officials school Wake commissioners on need for more classrooms

Posted April 20, 2015

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— Cary's population has grown by 53 percent since 2000, but Town Council members worry that the number of schools in Cary hasn't kept pace.

So, council members met Monday with the Wake County Board of Commissioners, which controls the finances for the Wake County Public School System.

"At the end of the day, you are the bankers," Town Councilwoman Lori Bush told commissioners.

Much of the classroom squeeze is on the western edge of Cary, Bush said.

"What we're seeing is five schools capped in Cary, additional pressure, trailers outside the schools and then, along with that, additional developers and landowners who want to build on their land," she said.

A new high school and some elementary schools are scheduled to open in Cary in the next few years, but no new middle schools are in the pipeline.

Cary leaders said the space crunch could choke off development and the town's ability to recruit employers.

"Our economy depends on having the full capacity for our students," Councilwoman Jennifer Robinson said.

Commissioners suggested Cary officials select potential school sites early to streamline the process, and both boards agreed that they need to look at possibly converting empty buildings in town into schools. The two groups also shot down any talk of building Cary schools through public-private partnerships.

Wake County also might incorporate school construction into the county's capital improvement plan rather than seek voter approval every few years for a massive school bond.

Commissioner Caroline Sullivan said that approach would allow the county to "flatten out the debt capacity and look long range."

In addition to schools, the two boards discussed how they can work together on issues such as transit and the greenway system.


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  • Sean Creasy Apr 21, 2015
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    Cary should have it's own local school tax instead of taking the lion's share of the county's budget...

  • Terry Watts Apr 21, 2015
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    Impact Fees would solve some of this issue... Of course here is what the NC Builders Assoc. has to say about it: http://www.nchba.org/wp/legislative-news/why-not-impact-fees/

    This portion is of particular interest: "It is unrealistic to expect the General Assembly to enact authority allowing local governments to impose impact fees. ", ie Cary cannot pay for its own improvements even if it could afford it. There was a law suit many years ago where Cary tried to get that ability. They lost... The Conservatives argued that it could slow growth by raising the price of housing.

  • Al Smith Apr 21, 2015
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    Cary needs to plan its growth better, instead of just smashing as many people as possible in as tight an area as possible. Areas of Cary are packed full and the infrastructure is bursting, and what does Cary do? Throw up high density housing to pack in even more people.

  • Tom Boswell Apr 21, 2015
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    A year and a half ago we the voters gave Wake County schools 80% of a million dollars increasing our real estate taxes 14%. They now want more with this budget and are already getting another billion dollar bond ready for 2016. Add this with the Democratic County Commissioners proposing a billion dollar wasted mass rail transit bond and our taxes will be increasing by 50%. The voters will approve these and destroy the nice area of Cary. Cary needs to secede from Wake County. The Democrats campaigned for increases in taxes and spending so if you voted for them you have no right to complain.

  • Alexia Proper Apr 21, 2015
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    Cary leaders crack me up. They complain that growth has left them without enough schools, yet worry that not having schools will make it difficult to recruit new employers and grow! Well isn't growth the cause of the problem?

    And they speak of the "western edge" of Cary. Ever looked at Cary on a map? It's as if somebody let the area flood, with city limits oozing everywhere. They out to retract back into themselves and either let other towns manage growth in their geographic area or form new towns.