Local News

Mayor Wants To Spend Tax Money On Cary Schoolchildren

Posted March 7, 2000

— A multimillion dollar plan to spend more onCary'sschoolchildren is raising eyebrows. The plan could upset other schools in the state.

Cary Mayor Glen Lang wants to take $4 million of surplus tax money and pump it into the schools Cary children attend.

"Cary's parents are upset with the level of education, so we are addressing the problem," Lang says.

The law does not allow Cary to donate cash directly to schools. They will funnel it through a nonprofit foundation first.

"This isn't something that's unique to Cary," Lang says. "Every municipality that feels that education is a priority can do this. They just have to have the will."

Under the plan, any school that has students from Cary will get $200 per child. Schools can spend it however they want. For some, that could mean close to $250,000 dollars.

Wake educatorsdo not want to look a gift horse in the mouth, but they have concerns about allowing two standards for schools -- those with Cary kids and those without them.

"The equity issue obviously means that we have to look and look very closely to see what other problems are associated with the whole issue of equity," says Bill McNeal, Wake County Associate Superintendent.

Tony Habit, director ofWake Education Partnership, oversees most of the donations given to Wake County schools. He wonders if Cary's plan creates an imbalance.

"If they're talking about supplementing the resources available in an individual classroom, then we need to sit as a county and question that," Habit says. "We need to ask, 'Is every child getting the support they need to achieve?'"

The foundation that is set up will decide exactly how much money would be spent per child, and if both public and private schools are included.

Cary's town council will discuss the idea in public for the first time Thursday night.


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