Wake County Schools

Wake school bond a likely topic in District 2 campaign

Posted September 12, 2013

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— Two relatively unknown candidates are vying for a spot on the Wake County Board of Education left vacant by outspoken board member John Tedesco.

Monika Johnson-Hostler and Matt Scruggs are trying to fill the District 2 seat, which represents residents in the Garner and Fuquay-Varina area.

Johnson-Hostler spoke to parents and teachers during a candidate forum at the Garner Performing Arts Center Thursday evening. Scruggs was unable to attend due to a scheduling conflict.

Candidate forum: Wake school board District 2 Candidate forum: Wake school board District 2

According to their websites, Johnson-Hostler and Scruggs have opposing views on the $810 million bond. Public school system leaders say the money is needed to help accommodate an estimated additional 20,000 students over the next five years.

The bond – the first since 2006 when voters approved a $970 million referendum on school construction – would cover the cost of 16 new schools (two high schools, three middle schools and 11 elementary schools), six major renovations and dozens of smaller projects at existing schools. It would also help pay for the upgrade of technology, security across the school system and land for future schools.

According to his Facebook page, Scruggs opposes the bond. He said in a recent post that he believes there is too much uncertainty surrounding the high cost proposed and he wants to look at alternatives that will not raise taxes. 

Scruggs, who is the son of two teachers, said he supports neighborhood schools and wants to restore the school board's reputation. 

Johnson-Hostler, the wife of a teacher, says on her website that she supports the school bond because she wants to see older schools renovated. She also said she wants parents to have a stronger voice in the process and wants to see more teacher's assistants in the lower grades.

Four seats are up for grabs on the school board, on which the Democrats currently hold a majority. WRAL.com will live stream the District 7 and District 1 candidate forums next week.

42 Comments

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  • SaveEnergyMan Sep 16, 2013

    We need to go back to impact fees to help cover these costs. There is a substantial fee to connect a new house to the water/sewer system - to pay for the infrastructure to connect you. Same with schools - it doesn't have to cover all of the costs, but at least some. Growth does NOT pay for itself when it occurs at the current rate.

    If the demand for housing is high enough that we have that kind of future demand for schools, then impact fees will raise revenue for building new schools and will slow that growth somewhat through supply and demand - which will help control other problems associated with explosive growth.

  • btneast Sep 13, 2013

    bonds are the most cost effecitve method of funding new school construction. The schools MUST be built.

    New schools MUST be built? So, renovating an existing empty building that was once something other than a school is not an option? Why does everyone accept that only a brand new school built from the ground up is the "only" option? We blindly accept what the education "experts" say we have to build? Could the school construction experts have inbred for so long that they are incapable of thinking outside the box? Yes, we will need new space, but does new space have to mean new buildings? Recycling and repurposing is supposed to be the order of the day, is it not? What better way to instill it into our youth than to educate them in repurposed campuses?

  • westernwake1 Sep 12, 2013

    "These folks need to look at Philli and Chicago, hundreds of schools closed, thousands of teachers fired" - jdupree

    These are cities where the student population is decreasing. Wake County is in the top 20 large systems in the U.S. in terms of student population growth. Very different situations.

  • westernwake1 Sep 12, 2013

    "The expect tax rate hike if the bond does not pass will be triple than if the bond passes"

    'More fear mongering and lies.

    Just another clueless citizen that thinks he/she knows what's going on.

    That's the bottom line' - NoTimeForStupidity

    Actually this has been stated very directly by the Wake County accounting office in the past. You can choose to believe otherwise, but the reality is that bonds are the most cost effecitve method of funding new school construction. The schools MUST be built. Using Pay-as-you-go or bank financing will require a tax hike of approximately 3x of using bonds. This is obvious to anyone who actually does the math.

  • WralCensorsAreBias Sep 12, 2013

    "The expect tax rate hike if the bond does not pass will be triple than if the bond passes"

    More fear mongering and lies.

    Just another clueless citizen that thinks he/she knows what's going on.

    That's the bottom line.

  • jdupree Sep 12, 2013

    These folks need to look at Philli and Chicago, hundreds of schools closed, thousands of teachers fired. We can't keep raising taxes to pacify these folks. The cost to build a school needs to be cut drastically. We recently spent 75 million to build one school. That is insane and irresponsible!

  • Bartmeister Sep 12, 2013

    Not likely to vote for any school bond until I'm satisfied with the board members and direction.

  • westernwake1 Sep 12, 2013

    "This is a good reason to pass the bond - build more schools closer to where the people live, so they don't have to be bussed..." - tw&tts1000

    Please keep in mind that I support the school bond. I was just making the point about the past issues in Wake where students were bussed all over for diversity - an initiative that did not improve educational results across any racial group according the Wake County's own study.

    I support the building of neighborhood schools. The reality is that this will cost more than bussing students across the county to under-utilized schools.

    bonds are the most cost effective method of supporting major public construction initiatives. These schools will be built - bond or no bond. By state law the county must provide seats to these children. Using rented trailers will cost more over the long term than building new schools.

    The expect tax rate hike if the bond does not pass will be triple than if the bond passes. That's the bottom line.

  • Krimson Sep 12, 2013

    NTFS: "Start by filling the empty seats and trailers we have sitting idle. Thousands of seats are available. "

    And the year after that??? You're proposal is just kicking the can...

  • WralCensorsAreBias Sep 12, 2013

    "Just where do you suggest we put 20,000+ students if they won't fit in the current school buildings?"

    Start by filling the empty seats and trailers we have sitting idle. Thousands of seats are available. Convert more schools to year round, if you plan to fill them up. Something your school board is threatening you with anyway.

    "To anyone not voting for the bonds, we do not have any alternatives. The schools must be built"

    WRONG! We have plenty of alternatives, but you liberals only see things through your 'give me more' vision. If this bond doesn't pass, and it sounds like it will not, nor should it, they will have to come back for another vote next year, or the year after, and it won't be for a billion dollars. It will be for a realistic amount. Until then don't ask me for another dime.

    Vote NO or you'll only have yourself to blame for the coming tax hike!

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