Wake County Schools

Wake school construction needs could reach $2B

Posted February 15, 2013

— Construction and renovations needs at Wake County schools likely exceed the $1 billion that officials have discussed for a possible bond this fall, Joe Bryan, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, said Friday.

The Board of Commissioners held its annual retreat Friday with mayors from 12 area cities and towns to discuss their needs, from transit to libraries. Bryan said that keeping up with the growing public school enrollment is the county's top priority.

"It’s critical for us to build schools and have good education," he said. "We have to prioritize, and there's only a limited amount of money we can ask for from our hard-working citizens."

The Wake County Public School System needs up to 16 new elementary schools, five middle schools and six high schools, and there are many renovation needs at existing schools. Those capital needs might require the county issuing up to $2 billion in bonds, Bryan said.

"We have maybe the ability to do perhaps $600 million relatively shortly, with probably a 4 cent tax (rate) increase," he said.

By 2018, as the county pays off previous bonds, he said, another $800 million or so in school construction bonds could be sold.

"I think the public is going to recognize that we need to make more of an investment in building classrooms for the students that we have here, as well as renovating and maintaining the assets that are already built," he said.

A half-cent increase to the sales tax rate also could be on the horizon. Some local leaders are urging commissioners to put the tax proposal on the ballot to generate money for mass transit projects.

"We’re really trying to make sure we have a comprehensive plan dealing with transportation," Raleigh City Manager Russell Allen said. "Our whole corridor plans and our whole development plans depend on different methods and different options for transit other than cars."

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane noted that Durham and Orange counties have already approved a half-cent transit tax, and Wake County needs to follow suit for the sake of regional transportation planning.

"We are really at the perfect place to put in that transportation infrastructure that will allow us to grow in a way that people have choices," McFarlane said.

County commissioners said they will decide in a few months how large a school bond will appear on the fall ballot and if a transit tax will be included as well.

"I'm not sure it's up to Wake County taxpayers to fund the city of Raleigh's transit plan," Commissioner Paul Coble said. "I guarantee you, most people in the community don't know what they're supporting or what it's going to cost them."

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  • glarg Feb 18, 2013

    "The Board of Commissioners held its annual retreat Friday with mayors from 12 area cities and towns to discuss their needs"

    Does this remind anyone else of Apalachin Meeting where the heads of the Mafia families were busted conspiring how to bleed more money out of their rackets?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 18, 2013

    @babbleon, thanks for the reply. Multiple floors are easy with domes. (Check out the 3-story “Eye of the Storm” house that’s functional and beautiful) A Dome is disaster proof (safer, cheaper to insure)...pays for itself in 20 years (because of saved maintenance and HVAC costs)...and last centuries not decades.

    Please verify the numbers. Domes cost less to build than conventional schools. (e.g. 18% less in AZ)

    And if you like LEED standards, you’ll love the (much superior) dome energy efficiency standards. The entire makeup of a monolithic dome, with its insulation on the *outside*, is what makes this “thermal battery” so incredibly efficient & cost effective...now and for centuries to come.

    Here are some specific examples of dome schools built (including the private school in Raleigh!): http://static.monolithic.com/gallery/schools/schoolpak.pdf

    School Dome vid: www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssyIEm7B0cQ

  • miseem Feb 15, 2013

    Now, are we talking about the Republican controlled County Commissioners or the Democratic controlled School Board? Sounds like the Repubs are calling for this. Hate to think that they may alienate their base in order to actually build needed schools. And raise taxes. What would Grover and his supporters say? Is "hissy fit" in a dictionary?

  • westernwake1 Feb 15, 2013

    "YES! This! I've been saying this ever since 'save our summers' started to complain. The decisions that have been made over the last six years, such as reducing year-round schools and changing the assignment plan, increase the cost of running Wake Co schools. (Tata even said it in one presentation)

    You can't have it both ways." - babbleon

    'then why do you support race based bussing' - arfamr1007

    Busing for diversity doubles the transportation costs over a traditional neighborhood school plan. It is hard to make the case that you support saving school dollars if you support the failed & costly busing for diversity policy that provides no educational benefit (as proven in Wake County Schools' own studies).

  • arfamr1007 Feb 15, 2013

    YES! This! I've been saying this ever since 'save our summers' started to complain. The decisions that have been made over the last six years, such as reducing year-round schools and changing the assignment plan, increase the cost of running Wake Co schools. (Tata even said it in one presentation)

    You can't have it both ways.
    babbleon

    then why do you support race based bussing?

  • arfamr1007 Feb 15, 2013

    From 2000 - 2009, NC increased educational spending by 10% per capita (inflation adjusted), and test scores went up (including AP, an independent college-prep test) and dropout rates were almost halved. Wake Co was headed the right direction.

    Then Art Pope funded Tedesco and that ilk. Why? Out of the goodness of his heart? No, out of the goodness of his wallet. His private schools will make $$ if Wake Co and all NC schools deteriorate.

    So anytime you see someone post that we should 'shut Pre-K through K12 Public completely down,' know that they are short-sighted and foolish.
    babbleon

    AHAHAHA!! So what about from 1900-2000? LOL. Why is NC in the bottom half in education. I just brought some REAL facts to the arguement.

  • arfamr1007 Feb 15, 2013

    LOL at the education lottery. Bev passed it and then every dollar that goes to education is taken out of the state education budget. And yet somehow republicans hate kids? Didn't bev tell us that the lottery funds would be a SUPPLEMENT?

  • bombayrunner Feb 15, 2013

    Pretty soon we'll be Cleveland.

  • LovemyPirates Feb 15, 2013

    Of course the property taxes are included in rent charges. The owners are rental properties are in the business of making money. If they didn't include the property taxes in the rents they'd loose money. Everyone including those who are here illegally, if they live in a dwelling of any kind pay property taxes. Everyone who shops pays sales taxes and those who buy gas pay gas and other excise taxes.

  • tony57 Feb 15, 2013

    As long as we have this dysfunctional school board headed by Sutton... I'll vote no. 250K to pay Tata to go away, 50K to find somebody else, 100K for a lobbyist.... They don't know what they're doing.

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