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Should Schools Have a Say in New Developments?

Posted December 14, 2007

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— Raleigh officials are deciding whether it should be mandatory to tell the school system about large, new developments that might be approved. That's not required now.

Wake County public school leaders use information on new housing developments to plan how they will make room for new children. The Raleigh City Council has been discussing whether educators should be given a voice in approving growth in the city.

This past year, Wake County educators projected population growth would add 8,000 new students to area classrooms. In reality, the increase was nearer 6,000.

Chuck Delaney, assistant superintendent for growth and planning with Wake County schools, said sometimes the best administrators can do is make an educated guess.

“You are trying to forecast where will students be, not just for the coming year, but two or three or four years down the road,” he said.

Part of the problem, according to Delaney, is that school leaders are not always informed about where new developments are going or how large they will be. Newly elected Raleigh Councilwoman Nancy McFarlane campaigned to change that.

“To bring the school system in on that planning process would be beneficial to all of us,” she said.

McFarlane proposed that the city council allow school board members to have a voice in any developments larger than 100 dwellings before they are approved. Otherwise, the school system might not have space to serve the children who would live there, Delaney said.

Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker said McFarlane’s proposal doesn't bother him. He said schools must be factored into the equation.

“That makes good sense to me, since schools are so important to housing developments,” Meeker said.

Another Raleigh councilman, Phillip Isley, said he is concerned the proposal allows the school board to steer development in the city

The city council will look at the issue on Jan. 8.

Anne McLaurin, Meeker's wife, was elected to the school board last month as the representative for District 5 in south-central Raleigh.

15 Comments

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  • Nancy Dec 15, 2007

    The school board already IS plugged into the growth plans, via the Growth Management Task Force and certainly can contact local municipal governments and request updates at any time for planned building.

    They just choose to ignore it.

  • BE Dec 15, 2007

    Informing the School Board of new developments in ALL of Wake County (not just Raleigh) that can impact the number of future students in an area makes good sense. It is just information that the Board can use to plan. It is insane not to do that. Giving the School Board some sort of approval of developments is another matter and I don't think there will be much support for that.

  • superman Dec 14, 2007

    The schools should be made aware of all major building that will involve children. The school has a billion dollars to spend on land and buildings and it is certainly beneficial for them to find appropriate sites in the areas that children are living. One person commented that they hoped the commisioners would cut school funding in half next year. It is my hope they will cut it out altogether. I dont have kids and hate to hear parents moan and groan about their little darlings With the huge increase in enrollment each year and the massive building program needed-- there will be no stability in the school for years to come. The school board will have to continue to reasign students

  • Fun Dec 14, 2007

    The insanity continues! You dont really thing the developments have been kept hush hush do you. Just passing blame. Politics and politician are about them, not the people who pay the taxes!

  • denverbob234 Dec 14, 2007

    The school board can not even get educating right, now they want input into something else??

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Dec 14, 2007

    Why should we give the failure of a school board input.

    Even if they know how many children will live in a development, the additional students doesn't affect the local school because they will be bused somewhere else for socio-economic diversity reasons.

    Latest reassignment plan is moving 6800 kids. 3000 to fill seats in three new schools and 3800 to accomplish their failed Socialist Socio-economic diversity plans.

  • murph Dec 14, 2007

    I think that the school board giving input is fine but there is no way that they should have any actual authority in the matter. They should have absolutely no power in what developments are being built. That would just be asking for more problems. Besides, they can't even make good decisions as it is so giving them more power would be a disaster.

  • ThinkChick Dec 14, 2007

    Ah...this ought to improve education for the children - more bureaucratic control over peripheral issues. Forget focusing on the basics of a sound education - let's meddle elsewhere.

    I wonder how much of this is tied to Mrs. Meeker now being on the Board?!?!?!

  • Mean Old Mom Dec 14, 2007

    Steve Crisp
    I think you insult the morons!

  • whatelseisnew Dec 14, 2007

    Steve Crisp

    Thank you I needed a good laugh.

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