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Wake County officials want to buy, build schools

Posted May 5, 2008

Wake County Public School System
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— A proposal to shift more authority to the Wake County commissioners for building and maintaining schools could help cool the commissioners' sometimes heated relationship with school board members.

The Wake County Board of Commissioners on Monday expressed its support for the idea, which the Wake Education Partnership and the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce proposed in April.

Under the proposal, the Wake County Board of Education would let commissioners buy land for schools and then design, build and maintain them.

County attorneys assured commissioners that such an arrangement would not violate state law and that it could work like any other inter-local agreements.

Supporters argued that the proposal would allow the school system to focus on educating students and keep disagreements between the two boards to a minimum.

Commissioners and school board members have publicly clashed over land purchases in the past year, with commissioners saying the school system was paying too much for land in a number of cases.

Supporters also said the arrangement would take advantage of the county's exemption from the state sales tax when it buys supplies. State law does not extend that same privilege to school systems.

County officials estimate that Wake lost $615,981 by not transferring school deeds to the commissioners earlier. School officials put the figure at $70,000.

Since commissioners have indicated their support for the arrangement, the Board of Education must next signal its willingness to do so also.

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  • james27613 May 6, 2008

    hi, I lived on long island ny and each town had their own school district, BIG WASTE OF MONEY. I like that the county runs the schools.

    Remember when the DOT paid big money for land that was needed for highways ? They overpaid (friends of the dot owned the land (wink nod handshake) and dot got kicked by the governor. now govorner must approve these big money land deals.

    as long as checks and balances are in place this would work.

  • speedy May 6, 2008

    As my daddy used to say, the school board suffers from "Too much college and not enough high school".

    Most (if not all) of the Board is not nearly as smart as their degrees say they are. They try to push all this grand social planning, crazy programs, etc. instead of just teaching the kids.

  • SaveEnergyMan May 6, 2008

    atc2 - Wake County schools have received only a fraction of that money. The money is distributed to schools based on their population and property tax rates. Last year Wake got $7.6 million for construction, $7.3 million for class size reduction, and $2.9 million for "More at Four" - source: http://www.nc-educationlottery.org/uploads/fy07_beneficiaries.pdf . The construction money is enough to build one elementary school. The lottery web-site also has the state statutes that govern it too - interesting reading if you're an insomniac!

  • whatelseisnew May 6, 2008

    Phrostbite

    The professional educators are the main cause of the failing system.

  • Phrostbite May 6, 2008

    They should start with a one year agreement & see how it goes. This will show the Commisioners it's not as easy as they seem to think. This will also allow the school board to have one less fight for a year. Now I must admit though, I'm not comfortable with politicians designing schools, that should be left to professional educators.

  • Phrostbite May 6, 2008

    "Here's an even better idea. Instead of a county wide system, why not let each individual town control their schools. That way, if you pay a higher price for a home (Cary) your taxes go to the schools in your community. If you pay a lower price (Knightdale, Rolesville, Holly Springs) your taxes go to your schools. Its one thing for a rural county (Vance, Granville, Caswell) to have one school system. But there are too many people in Wake County for one BOE to control everyone. Its insane.
    bill52674
    May 6, 2008 8:59 a.m."

    In other words, good schools for the wealthy & bad schools for the less fortunate!?! How very kind of you sir! For some reason I think every child deserves a shot at a descent education, no matter how much money their families make.

  • whatelseisnew May 6, 2008

    The school board prefers spending their time in court fighting against any concept of school choice. We need to vote almost all of them out next time around. I have been voting against the incumbents for years; I wish more people would join me in the effort. Ultimately; if things continue as they are, I see a collapse of the entire system coming in the future. As currently being run, it will become untenable to pay for it. That will be the good news.

  • bill52674 May 6, 2008

    Here's an even better idea. Instead of a county wide system, why not let each individual town control their schools. That way, if you pay a higher price for a home (Cary) your taxes go to the schools in your community. If you pay a lower price (Knightdale, Rolesville, Holly Springs) your taxes go to your schools. Its one thing for a rural county (Vance, Granville, Caswell) to have one school system. But there are too many people in Wake County for one BOE to control everyone. Its insane.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama May 6, 2008

    We now have accountability in the building and operation of the schools.

    The school board has shown that it has no accountability.

  • atc2 May 6, 2008

    What have these idiot school commissioners done with the $600M they have received in the past 1 1/2 years from the Lotto? Thank goodness for the lotto or we would be taxed to death even more than we already are(no Governor should be allowed to touch the lotto system - the money is for the children and I would like to see who the check is handed to each time one is written - this information should be public knowledge)

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