Local Politics

Wake County commissioner candidates agree: Schools need more

Posted October 11, 2012

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— Candidates running for three open seats on the Wake County Board of Commissioners met for a forum Thursday night to discuss issues facing the county, including growth, planning and mass transit.

The forum was sponsored by WakeUP Wake County and the League of Women Voters of Wake County.

Democratic candidates Caroline Sullivan, who is running in District 4, and Paul Fitts, a Republican running for the District 6 seat, joined Democratic incumbents James West, District 5, and Betty Lou Ward, District 6, for the event.

Sullivan's opponent, Republican Dale Cooke, was absent from the forum.

One topic centered on school growth management and the need for a school construction bond.

Wake County has the largest school system in the state, and it's growing each year by up to 5,000 additional students, according to the school system. The school system sees a need for approximately three new schools a year to accommodate the influx of students.

All candidates said they support a construction bond. Fitts said it is inevitable but that the county and the school system should exhaust all possible avenues, such as renovating existing buildings, before moving forward with one.

"Are we continually using our best innovation possible to save taxpayers money?" he said.

His opponent, Ward, however, said, "the sooner, the better."

Each candidate also said they agree more money needs to be provided to the school system. Fitts suggested looking at ways to save money in the school system, such as more energy-efficient schools and buses, e-readers instead of textbooks and selling unused property to generate additional revenue.

Ward said the commission needs to re-examine where money is coming from, where it's going and how the school board and county board can be better partners.

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  • NiceNSmooth Oct 12, 2012

    The final site has great road access and doesn't require a lot of prep work to start building.

    and how many of Margotta's friends and family made more money off the second site? - that was the only reason for the move

  • whatelseisnew Oct 12, 2012

    "Another way to save money is change all schools to year round schools. Doesn't make sense to be building new schools when the existing structures are sitting around empty three months a year."

    Doesn't save a penny. you have to operate the buses and the buildings year round, supply them year round, and so on. Best way to save money is stop building traditional schools, go with charters, private and home-school. The students receive a better product and it is less costly.

  • 426X3 Oct 12, 2012

    Politics as usual.

  • ConservativeVoter Oct 12, 2012

    "On top of that waste,the new site chosen is Rolesville. There is no way Rolesville can fill that school so to fill it the kids will have to be bussed from surrounding cities...How did Tedesco intend to make that a neighboorhood school? - NCMom1"

    There has been a lot of growth in Northeast Wake County.

    This school will take care of all of the new growth, along with those on Forestville Road, Mitchell Mill Road, and provide some relieve to Heritage.

    This will keep kids from being bused to Wake Forest, Raleigh, and Knightdale.

    The first sight was in Rolesville as well.

    It had highway access issues as well as lots of rock to be removed to build the school.

    The final site has great road access and doesn't require a lot of prep work to start building.

  • NCMom1 Oct 12, 2012

    ...Then lets move on and discuss the 3 million they wasted when they changed the location of a new high school...."

    On top of that waste,the new site chosen is Rolesville. There is no way Rolesville can fill that school so to fill it the kids will have to be bussed from surrounding cities...How did Tedesco intend to make that a neighboorhood school?

  • ConservativeVoter Oct 12, 2012

    Another way to save money is change all schools to year round schools. Doesn't make sense to be building new schools when the existing structures are sitting around empty three months a year.

  • ConservativeVoter Oct 12, 2012

    The biggest way for WCPSS to save money is to end socio-economic diversity (race) based busing.

    Quit busing kids all over Wake County.

    The SAS study that Dale Burns was caught hiding showed that socio-economic diversity (race) based busing actually hurts student achievement of the kids who are being bused.

  • NiceNSmooth Oct 12, 2012

    Have to agree with you superman!! but lets add to that a true audit of every departments spending... I am sick of everyfew months hearing of this or that group getting caught emezzling tax payer money

  • whatelseisnew Oct 12, 2012

    "His opponent, Ward, however, said, "the sooner, the better."

    This is typical Ward, she is and has always been a tax and spender. We already have too much debt in the county and we spend FAR FAR too much of the county budget on public schools. I do not want to see any new schools built. The system must be eliminated as it currently exists and replaced, by charter, private and home school. As to the Federal grant, given the Feds are bankrupt, I do not mind that they did not get the non-existent 30 million. In fact, all the States should eliminate taking any money from the Feds for K5-K12 and get them out of the picture. No bonds and no schools. I can not afford Betty Ward. I keep hoping the voters will wake up and get her off of the county commission.

  • superman Oct 12, 2012

    I remember well but some people have forgotten so quickly. Two years ago the board failed to get a 30 million federal grant. That was a of money they didnt get. Then lets move on and discuss the 3 million they wasted when they changed the location of a new high school. That amounts to 33 million the board doesnt have and could have had. Before I vote for a bond issue they need to make every school year round. Buildings should not be constructed when some of them remain empty and unused for 3 months. If you had rental property would you let it remain empty for 3 months every year? Use what you have before you ask for more.