Wake County Schools

Wake boards continue pursuit of $810M school bond

Posted May 16, 2013

— Wake County commissioners and Board of Education members appear to be moving closer to asking voters to approve an $810 million school bond that would allow for the construction of 16 new schools in the next 10 years.

In a meeting Thursday morning, County Commission Chairman Joe Bryan called the proposed bond – which would cost the average Wake County homeowner an extra $75 to $150 a year in property taxes – a "modest, reasonable plan" that needs to be "fine-tuned."

Board of Education Chairman Keith Sutton agreed.

Bonds are sold by governments to raise money for capital projects, and they are repaid by taxpayers over time. A bond in the neighborhood of $810 million, combined with $130 million from the county, would allow the school system to build as many as 16 new schools, including 11 elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools.

Six other schools would undergo major renovations.

It’s unclear if that would be enough to alleviate the needs of a rapidly growing school system.

Wake County Commissioner Paul Coble Bond talks between Wake boards heat up

School board members have been adamant in previous meetings that any bond amount will barely help the school system keep up with growth.

The student population in Wake County increases at about a rate of 2.5 to 3 percent, or about 3,000 new students, each school year, and school officials have previously said 25 new schools are needed over the next 10 years.

The two sides have been at odds in recent months over both the amount of the bond and who would control it, but legislation headed to the North Carolina House could end the second, and more contentious, debate.

Senate Bill 236, which passed by a 33-15 vote Wednesday, would give commissioners in 10 counties – including Wake and Harnett – control of area school buildings and land.

Bryan told the Senate Education Committee on Wednesday there are "numerous examples" of the school board wasting taxpayer money by not performing appraisals before trying to acquire land for a school and not maintaining construction checklists.

Wake boards Wake boards want public support on school bond

"We're constantly having these struggles," Bryan said. "They've become a 'board of construction' and not a board of education focused on the academic excellence that needs to occur in our classrooms."

School board Vice Chairwoman Christine Kushner told the committee the two boards have worked together in the past, and the legislation would upset the balance of power.

"This legislation is truly a solution in search of a problem," Kushner said. "We do not need a state law for Wake County to address the matters that duly elected officials can solve together."

The North Carolina School Boards Association said all nine school boards impacted by the bill oppose it. For a bond amount to appear on the ballot in the fall, the boards will have to agree on an amount by June.

School board member Jim Martin said the back-and-forth between the boards has disheartened residents, making them less likely to approve the bond.

"The public is not going to support this until we know who is in place that is actually going to build the school," he said. "Let's see a business plan. Let's see what the cost are going to be. Let's be honest to the public."

58 Comments

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  • bombayrunner May 17, 2:00 p.m.

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO ... they have no problem throwing 250,000 down the toilet with Tata gone ... they can forget my vote.

  • bombayrunner May 17, 1:59 p.m.

    ... they can forget it after throwing Tata out for NO good reason. My kids dont take the bus anymore since he's been out ... because the bus is not dependable any longer now that Tata is gone. I gave up, just drive them. We live in wakefield, or how'd the dem's put it -- 'whitefield'.

  • pappybigtuna1 May 17, 12:26 p.m.

    my blog to "heavy" cause it smacks you directly in the forehead with logic

  • pappybigtuna1 May 17, 12:09 p.m.

    not sure what you call it, but if you bought something that cost $10 million dollars and you only used it 7 hours a day and 3.9 days a week, not a value for the dollar.

    Then add an expenditure of $4 million annually to occupy the structure, and it is said they want more $$$$ dollars, the return on investment is always in the "red", not a good investment.

    Cut costs: Stop Bussing, Stop Free Meals, allow the parents to pick up more of the cost, after all it is their children.

    You say you don't want to pay more for the education of YOUR CHILD, you want someone else to pay more for YOUR CHILD?
    Are you going to give me equal say in your child's life, education, discipline, dress code? It is time for the parents to give something

  • superman May 17, 10:56 a.m.

    The state should start by having a flat income tax. No more dependent exemptions. Everyone should pay their fair share whether they have children or not. Some people just have children so they can get more welfare or decrease the taxes they pay.

  • superman May 17, 10:54 a.m.

    I thought the CC already required the school board to have building sites approved before purchase. I wont vote for any more bonds until the board makes every school year round. Doesnt make sense to keep building more schools and have most of them vacant 2 months out of 12. Use what you have before you ask for more.

  • babedan May 17, 9:06 a.m.

    babblon, just the typical liberal scare tactics. And we're not buying.

  • babedan May 17, 9:05 a.m.

    babbleon, your name fits, as your just babbling. The people don't want these taxes. The people expect the elected officials to work within the budget. When they elect to spend millions on fuel, bussing and other unnecessary things, then they can cut those first before more bonds are floated. But then we can tell your one of those GIVE, GIVE, GIVE individuals but I'm willing to bet your also one of those TAKE, TAKE, TAKE individuals and expect "The Man" to take care of you too. NO MORE BONDS. NO MORE TAXES PERIOD

  • WralCensorsAreBias May 16, 7:16 p.m.

    Martin has got to be the biggest snob to ever serve and just one more reason the bond will suffer an epic fail.

  • krimson May 16, 4:13 p.m.

    "Still doesn't mean I should have to pay for facilities my family doesn't use"

    Can I quit paying for UNC Chapel Hill? Or is your argument just as "old and tired"???

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