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Wake School Board Hears From Public About Construction Bonds

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WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Wake County commissioners held a public hearing Monday to discuss a $450 million school construction bond proposal that will go before the voters in October.

Officials say school construction is humming along at a steady pace in some of the fastest growing parts of Wake County. Rapid growth is adding 3,000 new students a year and schools are at capacity.

No one spoke in opposition to the package, but School Board Chairwoman Susan Perry hopes voters will not choke on the price tag.

"I think we have done a lot to prepare voters for this. We are facing very rapid growth and, of course, there is a cost to that growth. But, there is a cost for not preparing for growth as well," she said.

Reacting to a 1998 vote when voters turned down a school bond package, Commission Chairman Herb Council said that school construction is not a matter of choice.

"We have the obligation to build the schools and we are going to build them. Believe me when I tell you this, it's much more efficient and effective to do it with a bond referendum than taking money out of our cash flow to do it," he said.

Council said Wake County is growing so fast that just a rate that there may be a school bond issue every four years.

School bonds have a pretty favorable past in Wake County. Bonds passed in 1993, 1996 and 2000. All told, voters put $1 billion into schools over the past 10 years. The most recent school bond defeat was in 1999 when a $650 million building plan was rejected by voters.


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