Local News

Wake Schools Ask For More Money For Student Success

Posted March 16, 2005

— Wake County attracts more and more families each year and many of those families have school-age children. For the schools to keep up, they claim they need more money -- money for the growth and to make sure the education is top-notch.

Wake County school Superintendent Bill McNeal recently met with the school board and county commissioners to present his plan for student success. It calls for nearly $30 million more in operating expenses next year.

"We cannot pay for a Mercedes-Benz school system on an Escort budget," said Charlotte Turpin, president of the Wake County chapter for the North Carolina Association of Educators.

McNeal said the system needs more money because it adds between 4,000 to 5,000 students every year. Plus, many of those students have special needs.

"As we're growing, we see there are more students in our midst that English is not their first language, so how do we provide them the support services they need?" he said.

County commissioners have to decide whether to fund the request and if so, how.

"Relying on property tax may be one of the options the board decides to go with, but there may be others out there such as the hotels, meals fund," County Commissioner Kenn Gardner said.

If they rely on property taxes, Wake County taxpayers could see an increase of nearly 3 cents per $100 of assessed value. For example, the owner of a roughly $150,000 home would pay about $44 more a year in taxes.

The request of nearly $30 million is only for next year. The superintendent said the schools actually need $100 million more over the next three years. County commissioners will take up the first request in May.

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