Wake County Schools

Wake boards to pursue $900M school bond amount

Posted April 18, 2013

— Looking for middle ground in a debate that will have an impact on every Wake County taxpayer, the Board of Commissioners and Board of Education agreed Thursday to pursue a school construction bond in the ballpark of $911 million.

If approved, a bond of that amount would cost the average Wake County homeowner an extra $75 to $150 per year in property taxes but would allow the school system to build as many as six new elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools and renovate seven more to bring them up to date.

School board members will meet next week to determine exactly what projects a bond would fund and will present that package to the commissioners in May.

A month ago, the boards agreed that a "wish list" $2.2 billion bond – that would require a nearly 15-cent hike per $100 of assessed property value for county residents – was simply too burdensome on taxpayers.

Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan said in March that the school board would have to look at needs versus wants to trim its bond proposal.

The boards agreed Thursday that an estimated 5-cent increase to the tax rate would be the more comfortable figure for Wake County residents.

County Manager David Cooke said a 15-cent increase would add $375 a year to the tax bill for a $250,000 house, which is the average home cost for Wake County. A 3- to 6-cent increase would add $75 to $150 to the property tax on the same home.

Wake schools could see $900M construction bond Wake schools could see $900M construction bond

School board members have been adamant in previous meetings about the growing needs of an expanding school system and say that any sized bond will barely help the school system keep up with growth.

The student population increases at about a rate of 2.5 to 3 percent, or approximately 3,000 new students, each school year, and they've previously said that it needs 25 new schools over the next 10 years.

Members say they also anticipate another school bond with little or no tax increase in 2016.

"The needs are huge. We have not put together a structure that takes care of the needs that we have," Board of Education member Jim Martin said in March. "But just because I have the need doesn't mean we can take care of it in one shot."

The boards touched on those needs Thursday, discussing the pros and cons of renovating old schools as opposed to building new ones.

Bryan has said the schools bond is the commissioners' top priority and that he hopes to have a referendum on the fall ballot. Some school board members, however, have advised waiting until 2014.

They'll have to agree on a bond amount by June in order to prepare for a fall vote.

144 Comments

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  • superman Apr 19, 1:14 p.m.

    Give a tax deduction to the couple dozen people who live in the county, pay taxes and DON'T have children. Make all schools year round. Quit pleasing the parents and please the people who pay the most taxes. That is--the people who dont have children and dont get a federal and tax exemption for dependents. Those people not only help pay for your childrens support but also their education. Public Education=Public Welfare.

  • i4musicalarts Apr 19, 12:31 p.m.

    "When the WCPPS stops busing kids all over the county for racial quota reasons, I will support the very next bond issue."

    Thank you for your YES vote(s), as race-based busing ended in the mid-1990s.

  • i4musicalarts Apr 19, 12:10 p.m.

    " Also please help remove the lefties from the school board."

    Who CARES what HAND they are USING for cursive WRITING????
    :-) Actually, it's not an insane system--works pretty darn good for most kids. And, as long as Wake has a strong school system, economic development can thrive. That, by the way,keeps the tax rate bearable for all of us. Pay-as-you-go would not even come close to providing enough seats.

  • rand321 Apr 19, 12:02 p.m.

    Fire the County Commissioners

  • V-Vet 72-75 Apr 19, 11:39 a.m.

    I know a way to raise a little money for the schools. Fire the school board!!!

  • krimson Apr 19, 11:36 a.m.

    "Our children were used as pawns by school board members we couldn't hold accountable at the ballot box."

    Welcome to the Republic. Our entire system can be countermanded by those from outside our local voting area. Everyday in Congress, the other 49 states force NC to make compromises. Everyday, the other 99 counties in NC force Wake to make compromises. And everyday, the other school districts force your local district to compromise.

    Are you proposing that we be allowed to vote in the Virginia Senate Race? Or the Dallas, Texas Mayoral race? If not, why do you think you have any say in how a school district you don't live in selects its Representative???

  • whatelseisnew Apr 19, 11:34 a.m.

    "You can iether pass the bond and pay $150 more in taxes, or not pass the bond and pay $300 more per year in taxes. The new schools are going to be built no matter what.

    Bonds are the most cost effective method to fund large capital projects such as schools."

    Wrong. Pay as you go is the best way. They want bonds because they suck operating money off and so far as I am concerned that is an act of fraud. Aside from that ALL OF US should be demanding that NO MORE schools be built and it is long past time to move to private settings and more charter schools. It is the HEIGHT of stupidity to continue with the most EXPENSIVE and least effective methods of providing an Educational opportunity to the kids. For some reason you have decided you are nothing more then a slave. Why not help CHANGE things instead of submitting to the insanity of the current system. Also please help remove the lefties from the school board.

  • krimson Apr 19, 11:32 a.m.

    Enough: "It will ever be enough money for them."

    Who is this "them" we keep talking about??? b/c aren't we really talking about "our children, grandchildren, and neighbors"???

  • Enough is Enough People Apr 19, 10:42 a.m.

    We have to vote NO on this and get the word out. They already announced that in 2016 they will have another bond asking for more than 900m. It will ever be enough money for them. At some point we have to draw a line in the sand and say enough is enough.

  • heisenberg Apr 19, 10:16 a.m.

    No new taxes

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