Local News

Survey: Wake Residents Want More Ways to Pay for Schools

Posted January 30, 2007

— Wake County residents want options to pay for new schools, according to a survey released Tuesday by the Wake Education Partnership.

“There’s a sense we are trying to hit a homerun every few years instead of trying to get some base hits in between,” said Jeff Merritt, who sits on the Wake Education Partnership board of directors.

The unscientific online poll survey was conducted Nov. 8-22 after Wake County voters passed a $970 million school construction bond that would, among other things, allow for 17 new schools to open between 2008 and 2011.

The survey, however, found no real consensus on how to pay for new schools.

Voters want everything from impact fees to lifting the cap on charter schools to be considered.

“The bond can’t be the only way we fund construction and renovations,” Merritt said.

Merritt said it was a coincidence that the Wake Education Partnership poll was ready for release at a time when Wake County commissioners want to place another multimillion-dollar school bond on the ballot.

The timing of a new bond is now in the hands of the Wake County Board of Education, which must request the matter be placed on the ballot.

Wake County Manager David Cooke sent a letter to Wake County Public School System Superintendent Del Burn asking that the school board consider expediting the bond.

But even before the school board decides if it will grant that request, some high-profile supporters of the 2006 bond, including several Wake County mayors, say they will not support another one this fall.

"I think it's too much too soon,” Garner Mayor Ronnie Williams said. “No way will I do it again this quick -- ’08 is the right year, maybe ’09 is the right year to do it, not ’07.”

Knowing school leaders will not have the same support from many voters and mayors is bound to have an impact on its decision whether to proceed ahead of schedule.

Although they are not ready to commit, some school board members say they cannot ignore calls for alternatives to pay for new schools.

"We ought to look at operations, and we ought to be given the time to do that,” board member Rosa Gill said.

Although a majority of county commissioners want to move forward with a new bond, new commissioner Lindy Brown says she will push fellow members to hold work with the school board instead of against it.

“I am quite disturbed by that,” Brown said.

School board members will hold a special meeting Thursday to talk about the bond request from county commissioners.

In the meantime, the Wake Education Partnership will try to address some of the concerns about the last bond.

The poll found the biggest reason people voted against the bond: mandatory year round schools.

The group will start a new online resource center and hold a series of town hall meetings.

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  • Not_So_Dumb Feb 5, 2007

    Steven J Kathman, you are ignoring one critical fact. The bond money was specifically listed in the CIP for conversion of elementary schools to create 3000 seats in 07-08. IT DOESN'T DO THAT. If you voted for the bond, you should be upset with the BoE, not the Commissioners because their plan doesn't deliver what you supported.

  • Daria Feb 1, 2007

    Why aren't we using retail space that is vacant for schools? There are many properties in Raleigh which are sitting vacant and could easily be converted into schools.

  • james27613 Jan 31, 2007


    I would like the schools to be built faster then they are today.

    If they can build a Home Depot, Walmart or Hotel is less time using prefabricated construction, the schools should take a look at this too unless building codes prevent it.

    The entire building can be raised faster and for less money then the traditional block and mortar construction.

  • endlessbs Jan 31, 2007

    Also its amazing to me that people ignore the set income of retired citizens or people that are just hanging on to their so called private property. So its ok to to throw grandma out of her house so we can fund an illegal immigrants education and health care or someone that hasnt a dime in our infrastructure moving into Wake wanting not to pay an impact fee and an instant solution to their kids educational needs. I guess selling grandma's house will make the politicians and land grabbers happy and rich.Im sick of the failed promises and aloofness of our politicians. This next bond is a sickening slap in the face to the 47% that voted against the bond. Remember these idiots at election time please.

  • endlessbs Jan 31, 2007

    Wow, So someone that just moved here or doesnt live here thinks we should just throw more tax money at the school problem. I as a tax payer for 40 yrs and counting, am tired of funding schools to take care of the influx of people and continuing to watch our public, so called representitives cater to the developers and realistate parasites making money hand over fist and not paying for the infrastucture to support their overwelming of our resources. This is not an improvement in quality of life , just quantity of people and money in the builders pockets. Its sickening for alternative funding and charter schools to be ignored and im thinking hmm i wonder who got paid off this time to improve our communistic lack of ownership of our property. Property tax is communism. Look it up. If you have to make payments to keep it. Its not yours stupid!

  • wondermom67 Jan 31, 2007

    I agree with the impact fees and having developers provide decent land, not land that has to be backfilled and so forth but usable land. They also need to get off their pockets and give a percentage of their profits for the building and renovating of schools....They are the direct cause of the over crowing in our schools. Other than a Charter school The Franklin Academy & Rolesville Elementary there is not another school between Wake Forest- HS to East Wake HS or Zebulon Elementary. The town of Rolesville has a great deal of usuable land for a middle and high school. No, Rolesville probably could not handle the extra traffic but neither can the other communities, Heritage Elementary for instance..poor design for their carpool line, and traffic there is terrible. common sense would have told them to take the road around the school and back out. This would have helped the traffic on Rogers road a great deal. I guess common sense no longer exist.

  • El Doggo Jan 31, 2007


    The reason the developers are not charged is because they are being protected by the Homebuilders Assoc. as well as the League of Municipalities. Guess who funds both of those? You do! Your tax dollars are funneled to them through municipal (city) taxes.

  • diwanicki Jan 31, 2007

    caveman, I am liking your idea alot. You people complainning about your taxes going up are funny. Try pay almost 3,000 a year for property tax.Thats what we use to pay for a house we had in PA. We managed to pay it and didn't complain about it.

  • cavemanhightech Jan 31, 2007

    Why not make the home builders donate land, and pay a percent of their profits for new school sites and materials!? After all, they have some responsibility for the overcrowding.

  • stevenjkathman Jan 31, 2007

    Why give the commissioners more money if they wont work with the school board on how to use it. We approved the last bond, expecting it to be used in part for the year round conversions, despite opposition from those opposing year round schools. Now the commissioners are not giving them the money for this cause. Bottom line, we cannot trust the county commissioners. By the way, Tony Gurley admitted that part of this was playing politics. He does not want the bond on the ballot with the commissioners (according to an article posted elsewhere yesterday). You want progress, you want to see something get done, replace some of these commissioners. If we oppose the new bonds, this may bring more year round schools, which is fine by me.