Local News

Wake Schools Forced To React To Explosive Growth

Posted September 24, 2004

— The

Wake County Public School System

are trying to deal with a boom in recent development. The school system has to review 30 to 40 new housing developments each month and the school system feels all it can do is react.

For example, officials claim Fox Road Elementary School is over capacity. They anticipate a new subdivision up the road. The next new school in the area does not open for two more years.

"We just have too many kids for the building we have," assistant principal at Fox Road Elementary School.

"It is a race to keep up with explosive student population and growth," said Clint Jobe, of Wake County Schools.

The people who buy land for schools say it is a race where the developers have the advantage. Homes can be built in watershed areas with well and septic hook up. Schools cannot because they need public utilities.

The town of Cary had an ordinance that forced developers to pay for new schools or wait for the schools to have capacity before building. The planning department said it was never used and last month, it was taken off the books.

"Everybody agreed that it sounded good and it was an issue that we ought to be trying to deal with, but the basic point was that we were the wrong unit of government to have an adequate public facilities ordinance for schools," Cary planning director Jeff Ulma said.

Ulma said the city has other ways to monitor growth and schools. The school system said the county and towns are doing a better job of communicating, but it is still forced to react when homes start to stack up.

Officials said 60 schools are needed by 2020 and voters can expect a bond issue every four years in order to get them built.



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