Local News

Calls Grow to Give School Boards Taxing Authority

Posted March 21, 2008

— More people are demanding a charge in state law to let local school board control their own purse strings.

Under North Carolina law, school boards make educational policy and oversee the programs, but county commissioners determine how much local funding the school districts receive.

Cary Town Councilman Jack Smith said he thinks the school board isn't responsive to parents' concerns about year-round schools and student reassignments because they can't be held accountable for funding choices.

"Just like with any problem-solving, you have to go to the source, and the source of all this is the taxing authority," Smith said.

Eighty percent of the school boards nationwide have the authority to raise taxes to fund the educational program. Not having that authority is akin to the General Assembly approving municipal budgets, officials said.

"We're really in a small minority of school boards, having to turn to another board for funding of their needs," said Lori Millberg, chairwoman of the Wake County Board of Education.

Smith is pushing the idea of giving the school board the purse strings.

"By having it all together, you have complete accountability with one group," he said. "It forces the school system to partner with parents on a program of education that works."

Commissioner Lindy Brown said she is open to changing the system, although she believes the current arrangement works.

"I do believe in collective collaborations and would support one way or the other," Brown said.

Shifting the taxing authority would take legislative approval.

"We are perfectly ready to be held accountable to voters for the amount of money we spend," Millberg said.


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  • shep8851 Mar 25, 2008

    The only way I would consent to this proposal is IF BOTH the city council and county commissioners agreed to reduce their tax levies by an amount identical to that collected by the school board tax. Otherwise, no deal..

  • k557451 Mar 24, 2008

    As an individual living in NJ and palnning to move to NC, I can tell you this would be a disaster. The school boards have no fiscal consciences and their spending has resulted in our being one of the highest taxed states in the country. In my municipality the school tax composes over 90% of our property tax and has stripped the municipality of any bond capacity.

  • ohmygosh Mar 24, 2008

    Just imagine what the tax rate would be now if they already had this authority.

    Just a point of comparsion. Tax rate in Vance county is 95 mils. So your 50+ mil tax doesn't excite me.

    However, most of us here don't live in overpriced houses (due to real estate price gouging) or MCmansions, so from a $ standpoint we are still better off.

    You can reduce your taxes by finding cheaper housing.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Mar 21, 2008

    Change to neighborhood schools and stop busing for the failed program of socio-economic diversity.

    This will save the school board so much money that taxes would be decreased instead of being raised.

  • MarcoPolo Mar 21, 2008

    Teacher56- you want to give them tax authority/money so you don't have to hear from them anymore????? Actually, that's the best reason that I've heard yet. (Yes, this is sarcasm.)

    If you gave them taxation authority, you would hear even more from them rather the once a year budget talks and "fall-out" after only billions of dollars of year is not enough for them to throw away.

    The only people that would be for this proposal are school/gov't bureaucrats and their leeches...the same people whom we need to get rid of. That would be a wonderful way of not hearing from them.

  • DrJ Mar 21, 2008

    Do some of you not remember what the school board was willing to pay for just one school site a few months ago????? They'd bankrupt every one of us!

  • Fun Mar 21, 2008

    Hey teacher 56! Im from here, think schools taking over 70 or property tax revenue is way to much money plus 2.5 billion in bond money. YOU NEED COMPETION and LESS MONEY! We need lower taxes and school vouchers!

  • whatelseisnew Mar 21, 2008


    What qualifications do you look for. Myself, if a candidate has any connection with the current public system in any capacity, meaning former teacher, administrator and so on, that is a red flag for me and they do not get my vote. It has been my experience that these folks just continue with the same failing policies as their predecessors.

  • Capital Punishment Stops Crime Mar 21, 2008

    This has got to be one of the stupidest proposals i've heard in a long time. Before I would give them any taxing authority, I would demand that the school board show where it spends every dime it gets now. Next, they would have to eliminate all waste (bussing kids all over the county for some stupid experiment that failed a long time ago). Thirdly, that authority would only be good for 1 year at a time, and would have to be re-voted every year so people can put a stop to it if they start sliding back down that wasteful path they are currently on. Also, set a maximum for what they can tax, because even with a 1 year authority, they could do alot of damage if their taxing is limited only by how much they want. Since I know politicians would screw up the list I just proposed, let's just not give them any taxing authority before we all end up poor and with even worse schools and billions wasted.

  • whatelseisnew Mar 21, 2008


    Please tell me your definition of adequate funding. This state+100 counties+Federal dollars equals billions and billions spent every year. The problem is not funding. The problem is in the execution of delivering the education and running the system. What needs to happen is the current system needs to be de-funded so that it ultimately dies. I would accomplish that by providing money to parents through tuition tax credits so they can get their kids out of the public k5-12 system and into a decent system. All this change will do is cost more money and the results will continue to deteriorate so long as you have a PC crowd in control of the school board.