Wake County Schools

Wake boards meet on potential school bond

Posted January 17, 2013

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— The Wake County Board of Commissioners and Board of Education met Thursday for the first of several joint meetings to begin ironing out details of a potential $1 billion bond referendum that would help build 25 schools in the county over the next 10 years.

The school board says school construction is needed to ease overcrowding and prepare the district for the projected influx of 3,000 to 5,000 students entering the school system each year.

Next school year, for example, the school district projects nearly 152,700 students – a 2 percent increase over the current student population. That projection growth is expected to continue each year until 2022.

While a bond referendum and tax increase for Wake County residents is inevitable, the exact amount – and who control the funds – is still up for debate.

A $1 billion bond could add as much as 8 cents to the tax rate for residents, so Board of Commissioners Chairman Joe Bryan and Board of Education Chairman Keith Sutton have agreed to look for alternatives to ease the pinch, such as incremental steps.

"I'm hoping we'll look at something incremental over a three-year period," Bryan told WRAL News Thursday. "This will require a tax increase, and we will be in contact with people on that."

Once both boards agree to a bond amount, they will likely need to reach some compromises before a new bond issue is put before voters.

Wake County commissioner Paul Coble Wake boards meet on potential school bond

They hope to come up with an amount by June.

Getting there, however, might prove difficult.

The Republican-controlled Board of Commissioners and Democratic-controlled school board have been apart for months – most notably over student assignment and the school board’s September firing of former Superintendent Tony Tata.

Some county commissioners say there's a lack of trust with the school board.

One thorny issue discussed Thursday was excess money in the school board's reserve fund. Typically, a portion is given back to the county, but school board members are considering a vote to keep it, instead.

"Hopefully, over the next six months, I can develop that trust," Commissioner Tony Gurley said. "Right now, I do not trust the school board to be fiscally responsible with the taxpayers' money."

"I don't know how he could make that assertion," Sutton said. "We have completely clean audits. We've annually received awards from local government for accounting practices."

Sutton says he is aware of the friction between the two boards.

He concedes they won't see eye-to-eye on everything, including the use of the reserve fund and the school bond.

"For every action, there are repercussions," Sutton said. "We'll deal with those as they come."

34 Comments

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  • krimson Jan 24, 2:43 p.m.

    Fun: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tv666PtpD_M

  • goldenosprey Jan 18, 11:33 a.m.

    " If those schools open up and succeed, we won't need a bond. Time to starve the beast" -wakehammer

    We have privatized healthcare and me get mediocre results at twice the cost. Why not do the same with (to) public education? Starve education.

    My tax dollars do not belong in your christian fundamentalist school.

  • Fun Jan 17, 6:28 p.m.

    The folk tell always tell us about new students coming- It's like nobody ever leaves the system or graduates- They are all about building a bigger and biger domain. And inefficient to boot ! The answer is NO

  • luvstoQ Jan 17, 5:18 p.m.

    ALL Elementary and Middle schools SHOULD be year round. This would stop the bickering and choices. I say *NO* to new bonds/taxes until the school board learns our money should be spent wisely. They sure did not gain the confidence of many people when they fired Tata, knowing they were going to have to give him his huge separation pay. And happymom, how many children do you really think *work* on family farms now???? It would be great if more of them did know what working was like! I, too, worked on our family farm (in another state) years ago, missed a lot of school too, but still graduated with honors. Kids are too soft these days. Let the school board *prove* themselves FIRST.

  • Thought Criminal WS Jan 17, 4:50 p.m.

    Vote No.

    Tata, and the waste of this board are the reasons why.

  • WakeHammer Jan 17, 4:29 p.m.

    I will vote NO on the bond. The social engineers are back in charge of our schools and I wouldn't trust those lunatics with my lunch money. The republicans weren't much better when they had control. There are a large number of applications in for charter schools in Wake County. If those schools open up and succeed, we won't need a bond. Time to starve the beast.

  • kimandwill89 Jan 17, 4:09 p.m.

    I will vote yes, if the current school board steps down.

  • injameswetrust2003 Jan 17, 4:06 p.m.

    If Kevin Hill resigns, that will secure my "Yes" vote for the bond. I want somebody with leadership skills in that seat.

  • tony57 Jan 17, 3:59 p.m.

    Sutton is a liar. If he'll do it once he'll do it many more times. I will not vote for a bond with this guy as "leader" of a dysfunctional school board.

  • BlahBlahBlahBlahBlah Jan 17, 3:48 p.m.

    Wait and See....Just wait..Your schools are on the very bottom of the totem pole..always have been....always will be..
    You actually do not need a 40 story high rise with the executive furniture to teach the children....teachers can adapt to poor buildings...etc..but once you have the overcrowding and large classes...

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