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Planning Under Way For Wake Schools' Next Bond Program

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RALEIGH, N.C. — While Wake County worries about cuts to the operating budget, a committee Tuesday talked about the next bond to build new schools.

In an agreement with the county, a $500 million program to build 16 new schools is already in the planning stages. It would run from 2004 through 2008.

The school system projects about 4,000 students to arrive in Wake County each year in the foreseeable future.

The plan requires a bond referendum in May or November of 2003.

The news will not take the county commission by surprise. The members agreed to split the building needs into two separate bond programs when they approved the current school construction program.

County leaders said there will be no tax increase to pay for the bonds if the schools stay on budget. They hope to avoid dissent from those who opposed a tax hike for a bond several years ago.

The project manager said Wake County may have to sell the community on accepting smaller campuses or less spacious classrooms to meet enrollment needs within the budget.