Johnston voters asked to OK $64M school bond
Posted October 29, 2013
Wake County isn't the only local school district trying to meet the challenges of a surging student population.
Johnston County Schools is the second fastest-growing school district in the state, and school leaders say a $64 million school construction bond on the ballot in next Tuesday's election is needed to accommodate growth in the school system.
"We are growing (at) approximately 700 students a year," Johnston schools spokeswoman Tracey Peedin-Jones said Tuesday. "When you look at that, that's about a school a year that we are growing."
The county is expected to nearly double in population over the next 20 years, bond supporters say, which means continuing to expand the educational infrastructure.
"We want to make sure that we give our students the facilities they need, but we also want to do it in a long-range plan so that we don’t raise taxes for our citizens," Peedin-Jones said.
The bond, which won't require a tax increase, will fund two new middle schools – one in the Cleveland-McGees Crossroads area and another in north Johnston County.
It would also pay to convert North Johnston Middle School into an elementary school, allow for school renovations and repairs at other schools and pay for new technology.
"There are currently jobs when they graduate that are not even in existence today, so we have to prepare our student for 21st-century skills," Peedin-Jones said.
About $7 million would go toward renovations and upgrades at Johnston Community College, which enrolls more than 15,000 students each year and has seen enrollment increase more than 25 percent over the last four years.
There is no active, organized opposition to the bond, although one Johnston County commissioner voted against moving forward with the bond plan.