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Wake Schools to Pursue Controversial Rolesville Site

Posted August 28, 2007

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— Dismissing the conclusions of two independent appraisals, the Wake County school board voted Tuesday to pursue a controversial land deal in Rolesville.

Wake County commissioners delayed approving the purchase of 47 acres in Rolesville for a middle school last month, saying the school district was paying too much for the land.

Proposed school-site purchases in Apex and Cary in recent months that were deemed overvalued prompted the county Board of Commissioners to require the district to obtain an independent appraisal on all future land deals before the commissioners would consider approving the purchase.

A first appraisal on the Rolesville site valued the land at about $48,000 an acre, while a second appraisal put the value at $63,000 to $65,000 an acre. The school district has offered $75,000 an acre.

School board members said passing on the deal could push back the opening date on the middle school by a year and add to the construction cost. Finding another suitable site could take six months, and inflation could drive up the price of building the school by as much as $1.9 million, they said.

The middle school is scheduled to open in 2010, but a delay could push it back to 2011.

The owners of the 47-acre site has told the school board that they have a back-up offer and won't extend the school system's option on the land beyond Sept. 6.

The school board voted to take the deal to the Board of Commissioners for approval.

Meanwhile, the school board met with the Raleigh City Council Tuesday to discuss ways to ensure adequate school sites will remain available in the future.

Wake County loses an acre of open space every hour to new development, and the school board plans to meet with officials in each of the county's 12 municipalities so they are familiar with the school district's process for siting new schools.

School board member Carol Parker said she would like to talk about developers and communities setting aside land for future schools.

"Communication is obviously going to be a very important item going forward, whether it's us or the other municipalities or the county. Communication is going to be key in how the school board communicates with everybody else," Raleigh City Councilman Philip Isley said.

13 Comments

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  • TechRescue Aug 30, 2007

    Neat job: I want it. Things that would be on my Dire Consequences list are:
    * Turning off the A/C and heat in the buildings
    * turning the bathrooms into classrooms - installing porta-potties on the football field
    * School lunch vegetables will have to be purchased from China, even though they will be shipped in lead cartons
    * Hold our breath until we turn blue.

    Are these guys real?

  • TechRescue Aug 30, 2007

    Ah, brinksmanship....

    I wonder who at the Wake County School Board is in charge of the Dire Consequences department? What's his or her job description? "Develop a list of the most most public and indigestible consequences that we can use for the crisis de jour. Scenarios must inconvenience the most people in the most public manner (e.g. no school choice, no parking, no sports, no diversity). The list shall not include any items that might inconvenience the School Board (i.e. spending money wisely, making logical and businesslike decisions, cutting bloat and mismanagement). Job performance is directly linked to the number of hysterical letters to the editor supporting the School Board's plan."

  • Harrison Bergeron Aug 29, 2007

    "Research shows over and over that economic segregation in schools hurts kids from low incomes, while economic integration helps these students and does not impair students from better-off backgrounds." - Durham-Raleigh

    100% wrong. "Economic Integration", the euphemism for desegregation busing has been and will continue to be a complete and utter failure.

  • truth-hurts Aug 29, 2007

    Another thought - although "economic integration" may not impair students from "better off backgrounds", by your own logic it would certainly not afford those students capable of more rapid or higher academic achievement the opportunities to do so. For example, my daughter reads far above her grade level. Instead of being given opportunities to advance academically, she is kept in the classroom to read to and tutor students who have not achieved as much academically. By your definition, those students would primarily come from lower income" families. If we operate under the premise that all children can learn, then there must be other factors at work here such as individual motivation, parental involvement, etc. Those factors cannot and should not be addressed through forced "economic integration".

  • truth-hurts Aug 29, 2007

    Sorry, D-R, meant to say "with" all due respect...

  • truth-hurts Aug 29, 2007

    Durham-Raleigh, will all due respect, every child has the capacity to learn. Giving someone a label such as "lower income" does not change that. Segregation or desegregation does not change that. You are right in saying that we should educate all children, but it does not require forced busing for "socioeconomic diversity" to educate any child.

  • Durham-Raleigh Aug 29, 2007

    "There is a STRONG chance that the children in that development will not get to go to that school .They will be bused out and lower income or whatever they use to justify FORCED busing will be bused in ."

    There's plenty of nice right-wing Southern cities one could move to where this wouldn't be the case. Why, look at Charlotte, which dismantled a successful integration plan that was the model for Boston's own school desegregation -- they have had a nightmare since ending their own busing schemes.

    Sorry, people, but the public schools are there to ensure an equal educational opportunity for all. Research shows over and over that economic segregation in schools hurts kids from low incomes, while economic integration helps these students and does not impair students from better-off backgrounds.

    Would you rather educate all our children, or deal with more poorly-educated adults requiring more social services, correctional services, etc.?

  • NotFromHere Aug 29, 2007

    It all comes down to very poor planning on the part of the Wake County School Board and now they have their backs up against the wall - or I should say the Wake County border. In southern and western Wake County, they are now building schools closer and closer to the county line - ex Middle Creek schools, Panther Creek HS, and busing the children toward the Wake County borders. Well what are they going to do once the areas around the Wake County borders get populated? Build schools in neighboring counties? The fact is they have dropped the ball on planning new school sites close to where the development is actually taking place. And now they are busing the kids further south or west where they still have room to grow. But that solution won't last forever.

  • dragonslayer Aug 29, 2007

    Why would a developer set aside land for a school? There is a STRONG chance that the children in that development will not get to go to that school .They will be bused out and lower income or whatever they use to justify FORCED busing will be bused in . There is NO reason for developers to be willing to work with the schools because of this .I hope to god they never get the ability to tax us directly without going the the county commissioners .

  • Nancy Aug 28, 2007

    Well, the opening salvo of this news piece says everything....

    "Dismissing the conclusions of two independent appraisals, the Wake County school board voted Tuesday to pursue a controversial land deal in Rolesville."

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