Wake County Schools

Wake school bond backers pull in big-money support

Posted October 3, 2013

— Area business interests are helping bankroll support for an $810 million school construction bond going before Wake County voters next Tuesday.

Friends of Wake County has raised almost $250,000 to campaign for the bond's passage, with large chunks coming from the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, WakeMed, software developer Red Hat and other local employers.

"We have more and more people coming here, and there's a law that says, if people come here, we must accommodate them. So, we need schools, and we need good schools," said Marion Robinson, co-chairman of Friends of Wake County.

The bond would pay for construction of 11 elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools, as well as major renovations at six schools and smaller upgrades at numerous others.

Wake County Public School System officials say the new and expanded schools will help the district keep up with enrollment growth, which is expected to increase by 20,000 students over the next five years.

Robinson and other supporters say the bond is an investment in economic development. Still, area taxpayers will foot the bill, with the property tax rate going up by 5 cents if the bond is approved. That would add $75 to the annual tax bill of the owner of a $150,000 house.

"We haven't had an increase in taxes in Wake County for some five years or more. This is the first bond issue since 2006," Robinson said.

Anti-Wake school bond sign Opponents say Wake residents can't afford school bond debt

Ed Jones, chairman of the Wake County Taxpayers Association, said the county doesn't need another $1 billion in debt right now, and he said the school board is already too free with taxpayer money.

"Why do we need Taj Mahal buildings to educate the students?" Jones said. "You can have a great classroom in a dairy barn if you've got good teachers and good instructional materials."

He said he doesn't believe the county – and the school district – will grow as quickly as supporters predict. He also said the district already has enough classroom space to meet demand for the next several years, and if more space is needed, the school board could find other solutions, such as mobile classrooms.

"They haven't been a good steward of our money, and therefore, we don't feel that we can trust them to be good stewards of this bond issue – this big money – or any additional money," he said.

80 Comments

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  • ishami Oct 8, 9:17 a.m.

    Giving $800million to this group of lunatics for something they don't need is the very definition of crazy.

    They never expected to win this bond but with the propagandists at the n&o along with the criminal capitalists in the Chamber they have a chance.

    Vote no.

  • Deb1003 Oct 7, 11:45 a.m.

    They wasted their money when it comes to my vote. I've watched Wake County squander millions of dollars, those bonds I voted for in the past. I will not vote for this bond. Until the Wake County Board can prove they're beyond all this partisan bickering, I won't support any money that's being given to them.

  • btneast Oct 7, 11:30 a.m.

    There are many available studies that compare leasing school facilities vs. building new schools. Over the long term leasing costs 2X vs. building new schools.

    You seem to be stuck on the word "lease". I never said lease anything.....buy it.

  • Mon Account Oct 7, 11:20 a.m.

    How do you know you're in NC? When you hear this:

    "Why do we need Taj Mahal buildings to educate the students?" Jones said. "You can have a great classroom in a dairy barn if you've got good teachers and good instructional materials."

  • WralCensorsAreBias Oct 7, 10:31 a.m.

    "school board candidate Monika Johnson-Hostler was ordered by a court to pay a five-figure credit card debt three years ago."

    The last thing Wake County parents need is another dingbat on the school board. Why is it that every single election we get the worst among us asking for our votes?

    Don't elect her. She is clearly not our solution.

  • krimson Oct 7, 9:42 a.m.

    "This bond issue is all about power and greed"

    "I've already built my schools and pay taxes every year"

    "Vote NO and vote it often."

    Too funny...

  • WralCensorsAreBias Oct 7, 8:58 a.m.

    Lookie, this story got pulled back into the mix by wral. Wonder why that is? Maybe they are one of those backers? Of course their owner is.

    Vote NO and vote it often. Also for God's sake, don't allow Fletcher to be elected. If you do the parents in his district will pay a price for years to come.

    It's nice to say you won't vote yes, but you have to actually show up and make your NO vote count.

    Now go tell two friends, or get ready to write a larger check to the Wake County school board!

  • LuvLivingInCary Oct 7, 8:40 a.m.

    VOTE NO!! I've already built my schools and pay taxes every year. Let all the new construction foot the bill.

  • kleek58 Oct 7, 8:34 a.m.

    Does anyone understand what is happening in this country? 17 Trillion Dollar Debt. Bankrupt Cities, Underfunded Pensions ETC.
    Do we really need all these new schools so little Johnny can put his smartphone on a brand new desk? This bond issue is all about power and greed. We dont want it and don't need it.
    NO NO NO Vote NO

  • westernwake1 Oct 4, 7:34 p.m.

    "You're regurgitating the mantra that the school board construction dept is putting out about cost." - btneast

    There are many available studies that compare leasing school facilities vs. building new schools. Over the long term leasing costs 2X vs. building new schools. This is also supported with figures from the Wake County budget department which is considered one of the most highly rated and transparent county budget departments in the nation.

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