Local News

Parents Say Cary Growth Strains Schools

Posted June 25, 1998

— It is a hotly debated topic in Cary, whether to allow the town to keep growing at an exponential rate. Hundreds of people who want to slow that growth presented a controversial plan Thursday night.

Thursday, it seemed the only thing on the minds of Cary residents was development and schools. For two hours straight, dozens of residents told council members that their kids need protection from growth. Others tried to convince the council that continued growth is good for Cary.

Packed with well over 200 residents, the Cary Town Hall was short on space, but there was plenty of room for all kinds of comments about the education of Cary's kids:

"There are over 100 trailers in Cary schools," said Steve Browder, "Every school is at 100 percent capacity, with nine elementary schools at 131-306 percent of capacity."

"When I was growing up, you might have to go to Raleigh to buy a pair of tennis shoes, but you didn't have to leave town for a good education," Mark Mann explained. "Back then, parents weren't at meetings fighting for their kids' education."

Many parents say that battle could be won through the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. It would restrict additional residential construction until there are enough regular classrooms to hold 95 percent of the students, only allowing 5 percent to be taught in trailers.

While that may relieve the strain in schools, others are afraid the restriction could choke development.

"If we need more roads and schools, we need to build more roads and schools-- not implement a paralyzing development ordinance," Patrick Newton said.

At times, the public hearing became very heated with council members and residents debating the issue back and forth. Among council members, it appears there is a four to three opinion in favor of the ordinance right now. A vote is not expected until September.

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