Wake voters approve $810M school construction bond
Posted October 8, 2013
Raleigh, N.C. — Wake County voters easily approved Tuesday an $810 million school construction bond that school and county officials say is critical to keeping up with enrollment growth.
With all 200 precincts reporting, the bond passed by a margin of 58 percent to 42 percent, according to unofficial results. Support for the bond was strongest in Raleigh and western Wake County, while the northern, eastern and southeastern areas of the county voted against the bond.
The bond will be used to build 11 elementary schools, three middle schools and two high schools, do major renovations to six schools and smaller upgrades to dozens of others and purchase land for future schools.
The Wake County school board and commissioners set aside their differences over who should control school construction to unite behind the bond, saying more schools are needed to accommodate a projected 20,000-student increase in enrollment over the next five years.
"The community recognized the necessity of this core infrastructure that we need to be ready for the future," said Joe Bryan, chairman of the Board of Commissioners.
"This was the absolute best way, the smartest way, the most inexpensive way to pay for these new schools and the renovations we need to keep pace with this growth," said Keith Sutton, chairman of the school board.
The bond will add 5 cents to the county's property tax rate, meaning an extra $75 for the owner of a $150,000 home.
Opponents criticized the school board's handling of money and said existing facilities are enough to handle enrollment growth.
"I think voters will be disappointed that some of the things they anticipated coming out of this will not and some of the warnings that we had for them will come to pass," said Duane Cutlip, vice president of the East Wake Republican Club.
Bryan said county leaders will not let that happen.
"We have committed to re-doubling our efforts to ensure we are making good investments on land purchases and building schools," he said.