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Wake Officials: Schools Lost $600,000 in Tax Savings

Posted April 21, 2008

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— Wake County school system officials have lost almost $616,000 in sales tax savings by delaying the transfer of school deeds to the county, officials said Monday.

North Carolina school districts aren't exempt from state sales tax, so local officials agreed two years ago to shift ownership of schools to the county, which is tax-exempt and could purchase construction materials and everyday supplies like paper while saving the 6.75 percent sales tax.

In a recent memo to commissioners, County Manager David Cooke said the district has been so slow in handing over the deeds to the schools that $615,981 in tax savings has been lost.

"This is a significant amount of money, and it's money we will not ever get back," Commissioner Tony Gurley said.

Gurley said the transfer was a condition of the $900 million school construction bond issue approved by voters in 2006 and that the district and the Board of Commissioners need to work together more "to earn the confidence and respect of the public."

District officials dispute Cooke's math, saying only $70,000 in sales tax savings has been lost because of delayed property transfers. Seventy-four deeds were transferred between last August and the end of March, but 17 others identified by officials last year haven't yet been shifted.

Don Haydon, the district's chief facilities and operations officer, said the school system is investigating the dispute.

"We've asked our attorney to work with the staff to address these issues and expect a response shortly," Haydon said.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan called the discrepancy unacceptable, but said it is a symptom of a broken state system.

"All 100 counties across North Carolina have to go through this convoluted way of getting sales tax back. What's happening is our legislators are allowing our state budget to be balanced on the back of our students," Bryan said.

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  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Apr 22, 2008

    First they lose or wasted away $600,000 and now they have the audacity to ask for $54 million in their budget that will require a tax increase of 3 to 4%. No wonder the people of Wake County are refusing to increase their budget.

  • imtiredofit Apr 22, 2008

    This major foul up comes under the heading of "Malfeasance in office" it is punishable by law and includes removal from office. This may be the best way to clean up the Wake County school board.

  • Timbo Apr 22, 2008

    FragmentFour, go punch one. Then see how fast it takes you to get charged with "Assault on a Government Official".

    Again, I doubt the incompetent(s) will be punished, much less fired.

  • superman Apr 22, 2008

    Who in the county office was responsible for this. Surely if any blame exists- it should be shared equally between the school and the county. The county should have known what they were missing. The county has to approve all land purchases. The school cannot buy land without the permission of the commissioners. The commissioners just enjoy giving the school a hard time. It would have been simple to have a check list by the county-- check off the deeds they received and then ask for any they were missing-- problem solved. Me thinks the county is ultimately responsible and the county was responsible for the lost of money. When you point a finger -- it points back to you.

  • Tax Man Apr 22, 2008

    Wow, just moved out of Wake County - guess I don't have to worry about the WCPSS any more! They impacted my life for the last 15 years while my kids were in WCPSS schools - no more! The parties who are responsible for transferring the deeds should be fined an amount equal to the losses plus their annual salary - then fired! Incompetent administration all along. We really need to get the schools back on a local level - this county wide system is just too big to efficiently manage.

  • superman Apr 22, 2008

    I would take anything the county commissioners say about the schools with a big grain of salt. Lets see the audit before jumping to wild conclusions. You remember the city of raleigh purchased a payroll program-- cost a million dollars-- and it didnt work-- and they responded that the purchase was no ones fault! Cutting the money to the schools is a childest response. It is like being mad with your parents and not eating dinner. Keep in mind that the schools spend 3 million dollars a day that is in the neighborhood 60 million a month and that multiplied times 12 will give you some idea of the massive amounts of money that the school is responsible for. I dont have children and retired-- my solution would be to cut out all state and local money for the schools and charge each child about 30,000 a year for their education. That would work out better for me. No more county tax to pay.

  • trunkmonkee1971 Apr 22, 2008

    Just add the $600,000 to the the ongoing amount the school system has "lost". Somebidy has som explaining to do.

  • gt_football Apr 22, 2008

    GREAT!!! 600K down the drain. Sure hope they ask for a school bond again this year. Obviously it is desperately needed!!!

    GO TROJANS!!!

  • dmtmom Apr 22, 2008

    ALL I CAN SAY IS HEADS WOULD ROLL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • FragmentFour Apr 22, 2008

    Need to find who is responsible and fire them. Ooops, I forgot. These are government employees and they don't get fired, just moved around.--timbo

    Government employees??? I thought NC elected it's school boards!

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