Wake County Schools

Wake schools leaders considering school construction bond

Posted July 10, 2012

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— The Wake County Board of Education's Facilities Committee met Tuesday evening to discuss how to meet head-on the growth that the state's largest school system is experiencing.

Over the past 12 years, voters have approved nearly $2 billion in bonds for school construction needs in Wake County. The last time was in 2006, when voters a $970 million bond referendum passed.

Now, Wake County school leaders are talking about another possible bond referendum that could go on the ballot as early as May.

How much is still unclear – school leaders should have a better idea later this month – but the average cost of a new elementary school is about $25 million. A middle school costs up to about $40 million, and a high school costs about $75 million.

Other factors in a bond would include technology needs and maintaining and refurbishing existing schools.

With the rate of growth in Wake County, Superintendent Tony Tata said he estimates a need for about three new schools a year.

The school system adds between 3,500 to 5,000 students a year. Last year, 77 schools were above 100 percent capacity.

At the same time, last year 44 schools were under-enrolled below 90 percent.

Tata said the new student assignment plan decreases that number. He said he is also using existing county buildings as schools space, too.

But those factors don't lessen the need for new construction, he said.

"As we move forward, we are going to need to add new schools," he said.

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  • lolly Jul 11, 7:08 p.m.

    (Continued)
    Also, given the sad state of teacher supplements, some kind of give and take between county taxes and bond funds could be considered. Given the choice between nice buildings and good teachers, I would take the top notch teacher with a pup tent for a classroom.

  • lolly Jul 11, 7:02 p.m.

    http://www.wcpss.net/facilities/PublicInfo.html

    Look in the middle of the page. See the line item titled

    Active Project Status and Recent History - June 2012.

    It looks like they will have completed their current projects in 2014. I could not find any data concerning whether they had spent all the funds from the previous bonds. They usually spend most of the bond money, with a Lil in reserve for cost overruns and unexpected maintenance.

    Wake county draws families. School construction bonds are a fact of life.

    With so much vacant retail space, there might be some room for some "think outside of the box" purchases to keep costs down. Magellan once used old retail space near 6 Forks and Strickland. People begged, bribed and pleaded to get their kids into that Charter school.

    Given the sad state of the economy, it would be nice to see some extra attention given to more than the cookie cutter cost estimates. Also, given the sad state of teacher supplements, some kind of give and t

  • michelle234 Jul 11, 5:43 p.m.

    It's time to break up this school system, it is TOO BIG.

    Cary/Apex/Morrisville/Fuquay-Varina and Holly Springs need their OWN school system. Chapel Hill/Carrboro do just fine operating outside the Orange County system.

    Let's look at how WCPSS have managed the growth in Cary and surrounding towns:

    -Holly Springs is nearly 500 students above its capacity of 1,650.

    -Panther Creek is the 4th biggest HS in North Carolina with almost 2500 kids. Thank goodness they are opening a 9th grade center.

    -Panther Creek, Apex (#8, 2358) and Cary (#10, 2264) are ALL in the top ten of biggest NC high schools. Holly Springs is #17 and Green Hope #21, both with right under 2100 kids.

    There is something really wrong with this school system if the five HS that pull kids from this area are all in the top 21 of largest NC high schools.

  • KermitDFrog Jul 11, 4:20 p.m.

    "How could school pop still be going up? Are people still moving to the area? Why? Unemployment in Wake is still 7.5% (May 2012) and you have to go back to Jan 2009 for lower (7%). Are there that many new jobs around and where? I don't see them in RTP that's for certain."

    People are still having seks. That tends to produce little ones that need education.

  • cushioncritter Jul 11, 4:14 p.m.

    I'm glad I don't live in Wake County. The county should approach the NEW YORK legislature for new school funding since ex-NY residents are who's fueling the need for these new schools. We will eventually be treated to these invasive species vast knowledge of how a city ought to be run, and told how we should just learn to get along with [their] "rules", copied from the "greatest" city from which they fled, jobless and nearly broke, to a place with a low cost of living (and good job opportunities) based on "bible belt" values and disdain for the NYC "too many rats in the box and the fur starts flying" way of looking at things.

  • superman Jul 11, 4:14 p.m.

    I will not vote for another bond. You will make do with what you have just like the rest of us. Cant make it any more plainer than that Mr. Supt. The last bond issue passed but the one before that didnt. You get the message!

  • westernwake1 Jul 11, 3:09 p.m.

    "How could school pop still be going up? Are people still moving to the area? Why? Unemployment in Wake is still 7.5% (May 2012) and you have to go back to Jan 2009 for lower (7%). Are there that many new jobs around and where? I don't see them in RTP that's for certain." -
    rick_slick

    The K-12 school population in Wake is increasing 4000 to 5000 students each year. Families are still moving to the county.

  • rroadrunner99 Jul 11, 3:03 p.m.

    A "bond" is just another tax to quote the Republican's! We don't need more taxes.

  • rick_slick Jul 11, 2:27 p.m.

    How could school pop still be going up? Are people still moving to the area? Why? Unemployment in Wake is still 7.5% (May 2012) and you have to go back to Jan 2009 for lower (7%). Are there that many new jobs around and where? I don't see them in RTP that's for certain.

  • Da Toy Maker Jul 11, 2:12 p.m.

    Good questions would be:

    Where are the over crowded schools? Where are the under enrolled schools? Anyone care to guess?? So, how are they going to implement "Neighborhood schools" if not a lot more new schools are built in the over crowded areas?

    Just thinking out loud.

    Peace!

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