Local News

Wake School Board Proposes $938 Million Plan to Ease Overcrowding

Posted March 31, 1999

— TheWake County School Boardhas a plan to replace trailers with classrooms to ease chronic overcrowding, but the plans come with a price - $938 million.

With more and more students moving into Wake County, it is no wonder that schools are overcrowded. The 5-year building program is designed to change that.

The plan includes $333 million to build 15 new schools, most in the western and northern parts of the county.

"Those areas of the county are simply going to produce more kids," says Associate Superintendent Ray Massey. "They are already the areas which are most overcrowded, and where most of our trailers are located."

About 100 fewer trailers would be needed because of the new schools and the $372 million set aside for improvements at existing schools.

The plan would also allocate $158 million to update technology. School officials say all schools will benefit.

The biggest problem with the plan is that the county does not have the money for it. Most of the funds would come from a bond referendum that would have to be approved by voters in June.

Members of the Wake County Taxpayers Association like Tom Owen are afraid the bond will result in a tax increase they do not want.

"We're in favor of good schools. We want kids to have the best education we can give them," he said. "But we think the money can come from the taxes we're already paying, if they will use the money wisely."

Voters will make the ultimate decision. The $650 million bond referendum vote is scheduled for June 8.

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