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Orange County Schools Ask For $75 Million For Improvements

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ORANGE COUNTY, N.C. — Orange County schools hope to get $75 million in bonds to pay for a variety of things.

The bond offers money for parks, senior centers and affordable housing, but most of the $75 million bond package will fund new schools and renovations for two districts if voters approve it.

County commissioners are asking voters to give the county school system $19.5 million. The bond would give the district a new middle school and renovations to Hillsborough Elementary. The bond would also eliminate middle-school trailer classrooms.

Gym classes have plenty of room at Hillsborough Elementary, but the school psychologist works on a stage behind the curtain. One bathroom serves the entire third and fourth grade, both boys and girls. Part of the bond would enclose open walkways, add space and address a persistent mold problem.

"We want them to have the best possible learning environment and they're really putting up with a lot," said principal Dr. Jean Swainey.

About $900,000 of the bond package would give the old building health and safety upgrades.

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro city system is also in line for bond money to add space. Commissioners want $27.6 million for city schools. The district also needs two more elementary schools and renovations to address air quality for Chapel Hill High.

Scroggs Elementary is the newest school, opened just two years ago. The school system gained 1,100 students in that time and expects the trend to continue.

The proposals are expected to raise property taxes no higher than 7.5 cents. An owner of a $100,000 home would see a culumlative increase of $75 per year.

In addition to school bonds, the county package includes $20 million for parks and open spaces, $4 million for senior centers and $4 million for low- and moderate-income housing. Citizens will vote on the bond package Nov. 6.


Yvonne Simons, Reporter
Lynn French, Photographer
Kamal Wallace, Web Editor

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